Alpine explain ‘spiralling’ events that led to Ocon penalty hat-trick
Esteban Ocon believes “everything went wrong” for him and Alpine today, after the team suffered from a hat-trick of penalties during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Frenchman failed to stop in his grid slot properly at the start of the race, which earned him a five-second time penalty.
While serving the penalty the team worked on the car too early, which resulted in a 10 second time penalty. A few laps later while entering the pits, the Alpine driver went over the speed limit which earned him a further five second penalty from the stewards.
“We’re usually very good on these operational things,” said Ocon to media, including RacingNews365.com.
“We take a lot of attention to details to not get penalties, but today everything seems to go wrong.”
Ocon pointed to his fellow competitors, who he believed were also ahead of their slots on the grid, but did not receive penalties from the stewards.
“Four cars were also ahead, I was not the only one out. I was [just] the most forward.”
Timing issue led to further penalties
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer revealed that it was a timing issue which led to the further penalties being issued against Ocon, who eventually retired from the race.
“We have a system that counts down and into the mechanics ears to tell them when they can start and that was offset by fourth tenths of a second,” said the team boss.
“So then it kind of just spiralled out of control. The third one was [Ocon] half a meter off the pit speed limiter button early on the [pit] exit.
“All operational errors we shouldn’t make at this level, we’ll have an introspective view on them and not make them again.”
Ocon went on to explain that he has been using the pit speed release system in the same way for the last five years without a penalty.
He added: “The pit lane speed limit, I don’t know where the speeding comes from, but I’ve been doing the release and the entry the same way for five years and never got a penalty.
“I’ve been doing the same thing also for the start position, all the way up to last year and never had a penalty. So all these things are new, apparently.”