Esteban Ocon is impressed by Alpine’s development of the A523, saying its new challenger makes the 2022 car “look like a toy.”
The Frenchman, who joined the team when it was under the Renault branding, is set to start his fourth season with the French outfit, creating an all-French line up with new team-mate Pierre Gasly.
Following the shakedown at Silverstone, Ocon expressed his appreciation for the technical development made on the 2023 challenger, and compares it to the 2022 car.
“[Development] has a successful season in terms of numbers.
“But more importantly I’m more of a mechanical guy and when I come to the car and look at it closely, all of the details – how every part goes close to each other, how good all the details look, even from my position how the carbon seat is finished, the pedal box… last year the car looked like a toy in comparison to this year!
“This year it’s a proper race machine.
“It’s a huge step, so I think we are in much, much better shape than we were last year and let’s see if it’s confirmed on track.”
Alpine ended the 2022 season fourth in the Constructors Championship, besting McLaren to the spot following a season-long battle.
As it looks to retain its position this year, Ocon asserts has a strong feeling following the team’s shakedown at Silverstone, despite the limited running.
“The car always feels great in shakedown I have to say.
“2021 was also in Silverstone so you can compare, it’s always very cold so there’s always very little grip, but you can already start to feel if the car has an issue – if the car has a fundamental issue with the balance or anything – and that was not the case.”
He also highlights the fact that the car matches the data gathered in the team’s sim.
“The car was spot on from when we put it down, and that is very reassuring,” he added.
“First of all that the sim works the same way the car does on track, and the model does work and it correlates perfectly. So very good until now.”
The A523 will take to the track later this week, during pre-season testing in Bahrain, with the Bahrain Grand Prix taking place one week later.
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