Alpine team boss Cyril Abiteboul says he is expecting more from Esteban Ocon in 2021 given the benefit of a year’s worth of experience between the parties.
Ocon returned to Formula 1 in 2020 with Renault after a year out, which he spent as Mercedes’ test and reserve driver, following spells at Manor and Force India.
Ocon was shaded for most of the year by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, only out-qualifying the Australian in dry conditions once, at the season-ending Abu Dhabi round.
Ocon scored only 62 points to the 119 amassed by McLaren-bound Ricciardo and finished seven positions behind his team-mate in the championship.
“We have seen with Daniel the benefit of the second year versus the first year,” said Abiteboul.
“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.”
Ocon will be partnered by two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso at the team, with the Spaniard returning to Formula 1 after a two-year hiatus.
The squad, which finished fifth in the standings, has been rebranded to Alpine for 2021.
“We feel extremely comfortable with our line-up given the situation of the team [and] what it needs to achieve,” said Abiteboul.
“Fernando knows that the only way to win is to plan in advance and to build in advance and 2021 being a particular year where we need to balance our effort between ’21 and ’22.
“We have all together, with Fernando, clearly an eye on ’22 and he understands that and he will be completely part of that process and that journey.”