The team formerly known as Renault had a tough Bahrain GP at the start of the season, with Fernando Alonso retiring and teammate Ocon finishing in a disappointing 13th place.
It was the first time since last year’s Spanish GP that none of Enstone’s team cars finished in the points.
Ocon’s racing chances at Sakhir were jeopardized starting from 16th on the grid after being unable to complete his final flying lap when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr produced a yellow flag in the dying moments of Q1.
With an extremely close fight in midfield, Ocon believes Alpine has to do everything to be in the top 10.
“It’s clear what hurt us is the starting position,” Ocon said. “If we started in the top 10, of course you’re already in the points, but even 11th or 12th, there would have been a chance for us to get into the points.
“We have no margin and we have to get the most out of the car to be able to do that.
Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 at a press conference
Photo by: FIA Pool
“We have clear ways of seeing where we are lacking a little bit of performance or where we have an area to improve. We know where it is, it’s up to us to find that and find more rhythm for the next events in order to let that give us a little more of a headroom. “
While Ocon hailed the Renault 2021 engine as the best he has driven in Formula 1, the Frenchman acknowledges that Alpine has yet to recoup some of the chassis performance lost due to regulatory changes.
He says, however, that his team have already identified key areas where they need to improve.
“Of course the new rules have changed a lot of things,” he added. “Like everyone is saying, it’s a year that we keep the same rules and the same carry over from last year, but that’s not the reality.
“Actually most cars are new for everyone. For us, for sure we know what we got on the car. Everyone’s lost good grip and good downforce and everything. the world is trying to put it back on cars.
“Right now with the new rules everyone is slower and we are also compared to the car we had last year, so we know where to find the time and we know where to get that lap time. “
“The part of spotting where it is, which is now done, now we have to do it.”