Esteban Ocon endured an underwhelming season with Renault in 2020. For much of the campaign, his results reflected mistakes of his own and some unfortunate retirements from the races altogether owing to mechanical issues.
But his podium finish at the Sakhir Grand Prix sparked a sense of revival in the young Frenchman. It gave glimpses into what was truly possible when the right mixture of good luck and optimal machinery came about.
Alpine F1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul expects more of the same from Sakhir happening in the 2021 season. With a 23-race calendar in the offing, Ocon could well showcase why he deserves to stay in the sport.
Speaking in a brief interview, Abiteboul said, “We have seen with Daniel the benefit of the second year versus the first year.”
“I hope that the momentum from the podium that he had will make him strong and able to deliver more than we have altogether in 2021. We feel extremely comfortable with our line-up given the situation of the team [and] what it needs to achieve,” concluded Abiteboul on the subject.
The first few races of the 2020 season were a mixed bag for Ocon, with a P8 in Austria and an unforced retirement in Hungary a few weeks later. But considering he was out of the sport for an entire year, he tuned himself into a rhythm to produce results with the P2 in Sakhir, a genuine highlight.
The Frenchman has faced probably two of the current best drivers in F1 in Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo as teammates. But the job does not get easier with Alonso now serving as Ocon’s teammate at Alpine in 2021.
With the team aiming to fight for P3 in the Constructors’ standings, Alpine will need both cars to be battling in the Top 10 positions as many times as possible. That said, Ocon definitely has to expect more from himself and believe he can produce better performances this season.