30 July 2023
BWT Alpine F1 Team collected four points from today’s Belgian Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon climbing from fourteenth on the grid to eighth place at the chequered flag at Spa-Francorchamps. Pierre Gasly was unfortunate not to capitalise on a strong getaway from twelfth on the grid as he fell narrowly short of the points in eleventh.
Esteban’s eighth place sees him score his first points since the Canadian Grand Prix to move back into the top ten in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the summer break. He converted a two-stop Soft-Medium-Soft strategy coupled with a number of fine overtakes to cruise his way into the points.
Pierre made a strong start from twelfth but was left with nowhere to go on the run-up Eau Rouge on the opening lap after becoming stuck behind the slow moving McLaren of Oscar Piastri. That allowed a number of cars to jump Pierre who changed plan to a one-stop Soft-Medium plan while keeping an eye on possible rain, which failed to materialise into a position where Intermediate tyres were necessary. Despite a charging late effort, he finished three seconds away from the final point.
The team looks ahead to the summer shutdown before Formula 1 returns in Zandvoort in August.
Esteban started on New Softs, pitted on lap 6 for Mediums and lap 25 for Softs. Fastest Lap: 1:50.439
Pierre started on New Softs, pitted on lap 23 for Mediums. Fastest Lap: 1:50.911
Esteban Ocon, started P14, finished P8: “It feels good to be back in the points here in Spa after a few tough weeks where we’ve finished outside the points due to circumstances out of our control. Overall, it was a good recovery drive and a well-executed race from the team today. Eighth place is a very good result after starting from fourteenth on the grid. There were some fun overtakes along the way too, especially on Yuki [Tsunoda] and Alex [Albon]. I think it’s a good way to end a busy weekend for us and a nice way to go into the summer break where we’ll look to rest and recharge before attacking the second part of the season. Finally, I’d like to wish Otmar, Alan and Pat all the best in the future and I know we all thank them for their important contributions to the team.”
Pierre Gasly, started P12, finished P11: “It’s been a frustrating afternoon where we did not score points. I made a pretty good start into Turn 1 and then on the run into Turn 2, gaining a couple of positions. I was very unlucky with Oscar [Piastri] who had damage and was slow up Eau Rouge and I ended up being stuck behind him with a number of cars able to overtake. That made things difficult for us, left us playing catch-up and then we had to see if we could extend our first stint on Softs with the chance of rain. It did not rain hard enough, so we converted to a one-stop and in the end fell just short of the points. Some of the racing was fun out there but we’re still lacking some power which we need to find. Now we have the summer break where all of us will take some time to rest and recover ready to take on the second part of the season. Finally, I wish Otmar, Alan and Pat the very best for their future and a big thanks for all the moments with them during this season.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal: “The team leaves the Belgian Grand Prix weekend with ten points scored, which is a vast improvement after the last two races where we left without scoring points due to factors beyond our control. We could probably count ourselves unfortunate not to have both cars in the points today with Pierre just shy of the top ten after his race was compromised on lap one after being caught in traffic in Eau Rouge. Esteban did a very good job to rise from fourteenth to eighth with a well-managed two-stop strategy including a string of clean and decisive overtakes. Credit to both drivers for their performance this weekend: Esteban today back in the top ten and Pierre yesterday for finishing third in the Sprint. Today marks my final race with the team. I’d like to thank the efforts of all those at the track and at our factories in Viry and Enstone during my time here and I wish them all the best for the future.”