Alpine has a bright future as a Formula 1 team as a result of its new management structure, according to Esteban Ocon.
Laurent Rossi took over as CEO of the Alpine brands earlier this month, leading to Cyril Abiteboul’s exit, with Davide Brivio now confirmed as the team’s incoming racing director. Despite the reshuffle at the top coming in the middle of the F1 team’s Renault-to-Alpine transition, Ocon said the majority of the personnel are unchanged and ready to deliver.
“The team will remain almost the same; you know the changes there have been,” Ocon told Sky Sports.“I’ve met Laurent, and I’ve met Davide on the phone and by video conference. We spoke for a long time. (The team is) in good hands. They are very humble people, very motivated. They are looking to make a step with the team, trying to guide us in a good direction, and that’s a very good thing. I feel very confident with the new people.
“Obviously I am very sad to see Cyril leave. He has brought us and the project to where we are now. I wish him all the best; he’s someone that I really like. But the future is bright for Alpine.”
After a strong end to 2020 that included a podium in the penultimate race on Bahrain’s outer circuit, Ocon feels he made good progress last season and aims to begin this year in similar form.
“The second year with the team, normally, you are more established, and I really want to start the year like I ended the last one – on a much higher level than where I started. I know the team better, the team knows me better – they know what I need – and it should be easier just for me to get around things. I look to start straight away ready and on top of my game.”
It’s a determined approach the Frenchman believes he will need to succeed, especially given of the arrival of Fernando Alonso as his new teammate.
“I’ve never really switched off with him even when he was not in the team. I was texting him sometimes during the year, just on Instagram and reacting to what he was doing. Fernando is someone I really respect as a driver; I have so much respect for what he has done. When him fighting Michael (Schumacher), he was the person giving me the motivation to get to where I am today.
“He has been practicing and will be at a very strong level straight away, so he’s going to be a very strong opponent. But I’m definitely going to fight hard. I know what I have to face and I know that I will be starting stronger than last year. I’m definitely ready for the challenge.”