Esteban Ocon has claimed that he wasn’t the only driver that was out of position for the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Ocon was issued a five-second time penalty after the stewards deemed that his front right tyre was not within his starting grid box.
The FIA’s sporting regulations say that a driver can be penalised if they are judged to have “any part of the contact patch of its front tyres outside of the lines (front and sides) at the time of the start signal”.
The rule was updated for the 2023 season, as before a driver was deemed to be in breach of the regulation if the contact patch of the front tyres rested solely in front of the grid position.
However, the Frenchman believes that there were several others who were out of place at the start.
“Four other cars were also [out of place] ahead. I was not the only one out of the line,” Ocon said.
“I was the most forward, that’s clear. But not the only one. So that’s a frustrating one.”
Ocon’s race went from bad to worse when he served the penalty, as it was judged that mechanics started working on the car 4.6 seconds after he came to a stop.
He was issued a 10-second time penalty as a result, and picked up a further five-second penalty when he was found to have exceeded the pit lane speed limit by 0.1 km/h.
Ocon expressed frustration over the situation, stating that the procedures he carried out were no different to what he’s done in previous years.
“I’ve been doing the pit lane speed limiter, the release and the entry, the same way for five years and then I got a penalty,” he said.
“I’ve also been doing the same thing for the start position and all the way through last year I never had a penalty, so all these things are new apparently. We need to get those right.”
Despite the frustrating day, Ocon says that he can take encouragement from the weekend due to the pace of the Alpine car.
“[It’s] a tough one to swallow because we were on for points,” he said.
“The positive to come out of it, is we had the pace to be there, in the last stint I was pretty much as fast as Carlos, so that was very positive.
“I was in the points all the way until I got the penalty, so it’s clear we’ve got the pace to be up there. Not exactly where we want to be, but to score points on merit.”
Ocon’s team-mate Pierre Gasly recovered from the back of the grid to score two points in ninth place on his Alpine debut.