Alpine targets Mercedes

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Alpine puts pressure on the front midfield of Formula 1: Esteban Ocon announces “quite a few updates” for the A522 for the British Grand Prix in Silverstone.

“They should bring us a good step forward,” says the French racing driver. “So yes, we have high hopes. Hopefully we’ll do well too.”

Alpine has managed to do the latter several times in the course of the season so far. What’s more: the team only didn’t score in Imola, otherwise it was always in the top 10. And since the fifth Grand Prix of the year in Miami, only Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes have each scored more points than Alpine, which currently sits fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.

This starting point is “very encouraging,” says Ocon. He says: “The car is where it should be. But the team is still putting a lot of pressure on so that we have the upgrades available earlier than planned. It’s definitely going in the right direction.”

This is also reflected in the World Championship standings: in Baku, Alpine passed Alfa Romeo, in Montreal it came within eight points of McLaren. “Because we’ve improved more than other teams since the start of the season,” explains Ocon. “We can be satisfied with that.”

Can Alpine really catch up with Mercedes?

But for Alpine, this is just an intermediate step. In the medium term you want to close the gap to Mercedes. “But we’re not that far yet,” says Ocon. “[In Montreal] both have me [Mercedes] overtaken, so we’re still a long way off.”

A whopping 131 points separate the two racing teams in the World Championship, and that is more than double the previous Alpine yield. In addition, Alpine has so far scored a maximum of ten points per race, Mercedes never less than eleven.

But Ocon is confident: “[Mercedes] is the goal, it’s the next team on our list.”

However, Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer has already admitted that Mercedes is practically out of reach. Third place in the World Championship, he said, would be unattainable for Alpine in 2022. For his team, it’s about fourth place at most.

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