Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Belgian GP ‘probably our best weekend since I joined the team’ – Ocon

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon talks up Alpine’s Belgian Grand Prix weekend after their biggest points haul of 2022

In brief

Ocon hails Alpine’s best weekend of the season

Esteban Ocon has picked out last weekend’s Belgian GP as Alpine’s best of the season and his best since joining the team in 2020.

The 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner was fifth-fastest in qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps but grid penalties meant he started 16th. He made his way back up to seventh by the end of the race – with a three-wide pass down the Kemmel Straight on the way – while team mate Fernando Alonso finished fifth from third on the grid.

“I think it’s been our best weekend of the year so far and probably since I joined the team,” Ocon said. “I think the update that we brought here, how the car was performing, definitely there is no comparison to how we were, even in Budapest.

“I’m very, very impressed, there’s still more tools for us to come, so that’s definitely giving us a boost of confidence for the rest of the year.”

Ocon added he was “really disappointed” that he had to start the grand prix from 16th, as “I knew we were going to be fast”.

Tsunoda coy on his Honda future but confident of 2023 seat

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Paul Ricard, 2022
Tsunoda is hopeful of another year at AlphaTauri
Yuki Tsunoda is yet to be confirmed as racing for AlphaTauri in Formula 1 next year, but the Red Bull and Honda junior driver does not have doubt that he will not retain his seat for a third season.

“I cannot say anything about that [Honda’s involvement in my future], but I know what things that kind of trigger or will trigger that upon next year’s contract.

“For the moment I cannot say [details], just have to drive. For myself, the things I can do now is just to focus on myself and just make the results.”

The Japanese driver is currently 16th in the standings, and has not scored since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Andretti and Dennis continue Formula E partnership

Jake Dennis will continue to race for Andretti Autosport in Formula E next season, the first of the series’ Gen3 era.

For the 2022-23 campaign, Andretti will switch from BMW to Porsche for powertrains and Dennis is the first driver to be confirmed as racing for the team next year. He has won three races and claimed three pole positions in his first two FE seasons with the team, and had been courted by rivals before electing to remain with the Anglo-American outfit on a new multi-year deal.

“I started my FE journey with Andretti and I’m excited to continue to work with the team that has continued to support my career in this series,” said Dennis. “Season nine with the Gen3 era is an exciting time for all teams, and for us in particular with the new relationship with Porsche supplying the powertrain.”

Schumacher returns to F2

David Schumacher, son of grand prix winner Ralf and cousin of current F1 racer Mick, will return to the FIA Formula 3 grid at Zandvoort this weekend with Charouz Racing.

The DTM driver has already been called up by the team once this year to race, at Imola, and will be a stand-in again as Charouz’s recent signing Christian Mansell has to return to his Euroformula campaign which has a clashing round.

”Imola [was] a difficult weekend but we definitely had the pace, so I’m really positive that we’re gonna have a great potential at Zandvoort too,” Schumacher said. “I know the track from last year and that could be a little advantage, also given that the weather situation could be variable and open different scenarios.”

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Comment of the day

Mercedes revealed Lewis Hamilton‘s Belgian GP crash came in at 45G, and although it did result in him heading to the Spa medical centre is it was a visit he initially refused. While the impact force may not have been a surprise due to the rate of deceleration, that Hamilton did not immediately head to be checked up did raise eyebrows.

The incident was hard enough to set off the FIA-mandated G-force alarm, which means a mandatory medical check-up for the driver. The stewards issued a warning to Hamilton and by their own admission he wasn’t the only driver to have done so this season. Is it that hard to tell drivers that if they fail [to attend] a mandatory medical check they will get their licence suspendedTifoso1989

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Chris Sz, Meander, Glaszwiebel and Erzen!

On this day in motorsport

  • 20 years ago today Michael Schumacher dominated the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, leading Rubens Barrichello in a one-two for Ferrari

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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7 comments on “Belgian GP ‘probably our best weekend since I joined the team’ – Ocon”

  1. CotD is spot on.
    Such ‘flexibility’ in applying the rules (any and all of them) in and around F1 is the primary reason the rules keep being broken. Nobody does, or needs to, have any respect for them.

    If the rule says “If the sensor is triggered, go directly to the medical centre” then then should be an immediate licence suspension – or at the very least a huge, meaningful penalty – for not doing so.
    Who knows what effects he may have suffered afterwards with delayed onset when the adrenaline wore off. And he’d probably take legal action against them for it.

    1. Don’t worry, he is going to be suspended for wearing jewelry!

      Or maybe they have their priorities wrongly sorted. I also wonder as someone pointed out if it would be the same if somehow he, or rather the car, was able to continue driving the rest of the race.

      1. Don’t worry, he is going to be suspended for wearing jewelry!

        That would be totally satisfying – if only to see the rules being applied properly.

        Or maybe they have their priorities wrongly sorted

        Health and safety – particularly in such a high profile setting, and involving such litigious people – is never the wrong priority.

        I also wonder as someone pointed out if it would be the same if somehow he, or rather the car, was able to continue driving the rest of the race.

        I would hope that the G-sensors would stream through telemetry back to the FIA and the teams. As soon as that is received, there would be a black flag waiting for them.
        And if that isn’t the case, why isn’t it…?

  2. Alpine looks like a title contender after they lost Fernando.

  3. Tsunoda’s words are from last Thursday, so including them on that day’s (or the following’s) Round-up would’ve been more up-to-date relevant than seven days, belatedly.

    The fourth ‘In brief’ paragraph headline misled me.

    Suspending a license over a non-sporting infraction would be a bit harsh, but otherwise, I get the point of wanting drivers to go through medical checking just in case.

  4. Happy for Jamie. Indy Lights might be a good place for her to go. I don’t think anyone is excited by the idea of another W Series season.

    I do hope she doesn’t feel like she’s carrying an entire gender on her shoulders, I could understand if she did feel that way. In some regards you could argue she carries far more pressure on her than what Red Bull are trying to insulate Max from.

    If anything you could say Max has the easiest job in the world right now. He could probably stop for a selfie with fans and still grab the win.

  5. Give the current trajectories of Alpine and McLaren, I still can’t for the life of me understand why Piastri turned down a drive at Alpine. Unless it’s just about pay — McLaren have deep pockets, and he is the hottest driver talent in the market. Still, saying “non” to a seat so definitively will have greatly weakened his bargaining power.

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