Esteban Ocon revealed his seat was broken into pieces after his first-lap collision at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, which put him and teammate Pierre Gasly out of the race on the spot.
Ocon who started the race from 12th and Gasly starting from 15th were the victims of a domino effect started by the poor starting Zhou Guanyu, the Chinese trying to make amends after dropping down the grid from fifth.
The Alfa Romeo driver hit the returning Daniel Ricciardo in the AlphaTauri, who in turn punted Ocon into his teammate who was fast charging from 15th. Game over for both Alpines from Lap 1.
But it turned out that the accident was more severe than what it looked, as Ocon was sent to the medical center for checkup as his seat was broken upon impact.
“[I] just suffered a strike into Turn 1,” Ocon told Formula 1’s Official Website. “It’s just a mistake from Zhou in the back, that lead us to a massive hit. I took off by three metres, four metres, I don’t know, on the rear wheels, and when I landed it was a big hit.
“My seat broke in pieces, in two parts. So, that tells you how much the impact was, and unfortunately both cars were out after that. Those are the consequences from racing in the back, people tend to take more risks.
“We knew it and we suffered from it today. We are going to be racing again next week and that’s the good thing, that we can forget quickly this weekend,” he maintained.
“So far, I’m still warm, so it’s okay,” was Ocon’s response when asked how he felt. “I’m lucky enough to be between a team of very professional people, and I should be well taken care of.”
Gasly: We could’ve fought for a point or two
Gasly reflected on the crash from his perspective, he said: “I mean it’s very very frustrating. “I’m especially disappointed for the whole team because we are losing both cars already after Turn 1.
“I took a really good start, managed to pass a couple of cars, managed to position myself well into Turn 1, brake late, pass some other guys.
“And in the end, from what I saw and heard, Zhou touched Daniel, who touched Esteban, and then Esteban ended up on top of me. It’s just unfortunate, but clearly not what we would have liked,” he lamented.
“We knew the whole weekend we’ve been lacking pace and we were not fast enough,” Gasly admitted when asked of the double DNF meant Alpine missed out on points.
“But I definitely think we could have fought for a point or two if everything would have come my way. But unfortunately it didn’t,” the former AlphaTauri driver concluded.
That’s what happens when you start 12th and 15th
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer reflected on his team’s disappointing Hungarian weekend explaining how they struggled with the new Qualifying format that dictated tyre usage in each stage.
“Definitely not the weekend we were after,” he said. “We struggled a bit on the medium tyres in qualifying and we were much more used to the softs running in Q2 and we are actually pretty good on the softs when we ran them in FP3 and FP2.
“FP2 everyone ran softs and we were third and fifth but we just couldn’t get the mediums working properly. Anyway, therefore we started 12th and 15th and when you start in the midfield like that you saw what could happen,” Szafnauer concluded.