Inside the event: Esteban Ocon talks Alpine’s Belgian Grand Prix weekend after 2022 big points.
Ocon hailed the Alpine’s best weekend of the season
Esteban Ocon chose last weekend’s Belgian GP as the best of the Alpine season and the 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 bounced back as high as seventh at the end of the race – passing Kemmel three wide on the straight – with team-mate Fernando Alonso finishing fifth from third on the grid.
“I think it was the best weekend of the year so far and probably since I joined the team,” Ocon said. “The update we brought here, I think how the car was doing, there’s certainly no comparison to what we were in Budapest, even in Budapest.
“I’m very, very impressed. We still have a lot of tools to come, so that’s definitely giving us confidence for the rest of the year.”
Ocon added: “I knew we were going to be fast” and was “very disappointed” to have to start the grand prix from 16th.
Tsunoda coy on Honda’s future but confident in the 2023 seat
It is yet to be confirmed whether Yuki Tunoda will race for AlphaTauri in Formula 1 next year, but the Red Bull and Honda junior driver is in no doubt that he will not take the seat for a third season.
“I can’t say anything about that. [Honda’s involvement in my future]But I know it’s going to trigger some kind of trigger or something on next year’s contract.
“I can’t say at the moment. [details]You just have to drive. For myself, all I can do now is focus on myself and just do the results.”
The Japanese driver is currently 16th in the standings, and has not scored a point since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Andretti and Dennis continue their Formula E partnership.
Jake Dennis will continue to race for Andretti Autosport next season in Formula E, the first in the series’ Gen3 era.
For the 2022-23 campaign, Andretti will switch from BMW to Porsche for powertrains and Dennis is the first driver confirmed to race for the team next year. In his first two FA seasons with the club, he won three competitions and secured three pole positions, and was courted by rivals before opting to stay with the Anglo-American outfit on a new multi-year deal.
“I started my FE journey with Andretti and I’m delighted to continue working with a team that continues to support my career in this series,” said Dennis. “The ninth season is an exciting time in the Gen3 era for all teams and for us in particular with the new relationship with Porsche’s 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 Charoz Racing.
The DTM driver has been called up by the team to race at Imola once again this year and will be a supporter once again as Charuz’s latest signing Christian Mansell has to return to his controversial Euroformula campaign.
“Imola [was] A tough weekend but we really had the pace so I’m really positive that we’ll have great potential in Zandvoort as well,” said Schumacher. “I know the track from last year and that can be a bit of an advantage, also the weather conditions are variable and can open up different conditions.”
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This day in motorsport
20 years ago today, Michael Schumacher dominated the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, leading Rubens Barrichello to a one-two for Ferrari.