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Alpine bring first A524 upgrades for Japanese GP

Alpine bring first A524 upgrades for Japanese GP

Alpine bring first A524 upgrades for Japanese GP

Alpine head into this weekend’s 2024 Japanese Grand Prix with an upgraded A524, as part of the team’s plans to develop their 2024 Formula 1 Car.

The French team have started the current F1 season on the back foot with an underpowered and overweight car, both drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly struggling to extract performance from the package at their disposal.

Ocon and Gasly qualified 19th and 20th in Bahrain and finished 17th and 18th respectively. In Saudi Arabia, both drivers failed to make it out of Q1 in qualifying while also failing to score any points.

At the Australian GP, Gasly was knocked out of qualifying in Q1, while Ocon barely made it into Q2, but in the race, both drivers failed to score points again.

However, Alpine Team Principal Bruno Famin insisted there was a silver lining after Melbourne, he said: “In Australia, we were able to fight closer to the points than in previous rounds.

“That said, that was likely down to circumstance and track specifics rather than an improvement in performance. And it is still a long way from our objective.

“We are motivated to put things right both at our factories and at the track in order to improve our processes and our car. We must fight tooth and nail to better our performance in all areas,” he vowed.

The first updates for the A524

In Alpine’s preview of the upcoming Japanese GP, the Frenchman added: “We are looking forward to racing at the fast and flowing Suzuka Circuit.

“In line with our 2024 development plan, we are on schedule to make the first updates to the A524,” he revealed.

“Although they are not major, it is important for us to add these elements as soon as we can so we can assess the potential and continually improve our understanding of our package.

“These updates mainly concern a new front wing as well as the first step of weight reduction,” Famin pointed out.

Ocon, also previewing this F1 weekend at Suzuka, said: “Coming away from the last race in Australia, there were mixed emotions.

“On one hand there were promising signs with the car showing better performance across the weekend as a whole and being closer to the teams around us,” he added. “On the other side, it felt like a bit of a missed opportunity as, without the extra pit stop to remove the tear-off from the rear brake duct, we could have been in the mix for points. But that’s racing and if we did not stop, we probably would not have made it to the end of the race.

“I know the team at Enstone and Viry are working extremely hard to bring performance to the car and we’ll be trialling some small upgrades this weekend in Suzuka,” the Alpine driver maintained.

As for driving at Suzuka, Ocon said: “Suzuka is often described as a drivers’ favourite as well as a fans’ favourite, and I can tell you that’s definitely true.

“For me, it’s the best circuit on the calendar and it’s somewhere I enjoy coming back and driving each year. There’s so much to like about the track, particularly the first sector, which is incredibly fast and flowing, with no time to catch your breath. One corner quickly follows the other and one missed apex can compromise the entire lap. The level of precision and commitment – in Qualifying trim in particular – makes it extra rewarding,” he explained.

“It’s an old school circuit which punishes any mistakes and is steeped in history. That, along with the fans, makes it a standout on the F1 schedule,” Ocon concluded.