24. 9. 2023
BWT Alpine F1 Team secured points with both cars in today’s Japanese Grand Prix as Esteban Ocon finished ninth and Pierre Gasly tenth at Suzuka.
With the ninth and tenth place result firmly wrapped up in the latter stages of the race, the team aimed to chase the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso in eighth place; swapping positions between Esteban and Pierre to give the latter, on fresh tyres, the opportunity to gain for the benefit of the team. While Pierre got close to closing Fernando, ultimately, he ran out of laps and the team swapped places back with Esteban finishing ninth and Pierre tenth at the chequered flag.
Next up for the team is the Qatar Grand Prix in October at the Losail International Circuit.
Esteban started on New Mediums (L1 pit-stop for New Hards, L29 pit-stop for New Hards). Fastest Lap: 1:37.398
Pierre started on New Mediums (L19 pit-stop for New Hards, L35 for New Hards). Fastest Lap: 1:36.371
Esteban Ocon, started P14, finished P9: “First of all it is great to have both cars back in the points. I think the team did well to optimise a challenging strategy today and we performed well, in general, on track. We had a tricky start with the racing incident on lap one, which could have easily put an end to our race, but we were able to recover well, manage the tyres, have some good pit stops, and end our day with some points. It was good teamwork in an attempt to grab more points as a team and, in the end, we probably maximised what we had today. We have many things to learn and to discuss and we aim to come back stronger in Qatar in two weeks’ time.”
Pierre Gasly, started P12, finished P10: “Firstly, we’ve made it back-to-back points from the double header after going from twelfth on the grid into the points. From my side, I felt it was a very positive race with strong stints on both the Medium and Hard tyres to put ourselves into points scoring contention. We seemed competitive, closely matched with Fernando [Alonso] ahead, and closing him down might have been possible. As a team, we have some things to review to see what we can do better for next time. In the end, it’s a double points finish for the team and that’s the most important thing.”
Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal: “It’s been a positive Sunday effort from the team today with both cars in the points and it was good to put behind a slightly out-of-position Qualifying. It was an interesting race for strategy with many different plans across the field. Towards the end of the race we looked to capitalise on our tyre advantage and pace from Pierre by targeting eighth place. The opportunity was a close one and we decided to swap positions on track with a view for maximising the team result by giving Pierre the chance to chase eighth place. In the end, we ran out of laps and pace and we made the decision to swap the drivers back. Making these calls is never easy, however, all decisions are taken with the best interest of the team first and foremost. It’s been a busy two weeks – points on the board and certainly encouraging signs across two different circuits and conditions – so credit to the entire team for delivering upgrades and slick execution towards these results. We all need to keep pushing for more.”