Watch: Alpine duo sample NASCAR machinery ahead of Miami Grand Prix
Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly shrugged off a wretched weekend in Baku with a bit of NASCAR fun, the Alpine team-mates challenging the Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing drivers at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Alpine left Baku without a single point on the board, the team’s second successive non-score of the season.
But that was pushed to one side earlier this week when Ocon and Gasly challenged NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher to see who could set the fastest lap time.
Running one of RFK’s Ford Mustangs, the team has yet to reveal who was fastest on a day that also included donuts and references to the “I love crepes” scene from Talladega Nights.
This morning was fun 😋🍩 pic.twitter.com/hEORxDCzc2
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) May 2, 2023
But it wasn’t just about the racing with the lads also trying their hand at a NASCAR pit stop.
Alpine’s NASCAR outing came in the wake of a disappointing Azerbaijan Grand Prix, one in which the team failed to score a point despite two opportunities – the sprint and the grand prix.
The team even took the step of changing Ocon’s set-up ahead of the sprint shootout but alas pit lane starts hampered his progress while his team-mate Gasly had a fiery Friday that ended with a crash in qualifying.
But despite finishing 14th and 15th in the grand prix, the team’s sporting director Alan Permane found a silver lining as he reckons the new floor introduce at Baku is a step forward.
“It worked, in fact it overperformed a little bit, so that is a positive to take away from this weekend,” he said as per Motorsport.com.
“And again, looks very much like we’re going to continue that trend of just being able to put things on the car without really having to test them too much, which is such a huge benefit.
“That’s something that we grew in confidence with last year, as more and more things come through.”
The team will introduce further upgrades at this weekend’s Miami race as well as Imola.
“We’ve got something in Miami, something else in Imola, I’m not too sure where we are beyond that,” said Permane.
“But there’s definitely another tenth coming and then another tenth, so there’s good stuff coming in the pipeline and having that confidence that it’ll work first time is great.”
He added: “We have to just keep doing our job, putting upgrades on the car and improving the car.
“And then assuming, like last year, that we improve at a better rate of most other people, if not all other people.
“It’s a long season. We’ve still got 19 races to go, a very, very long way to go. We’ve had some real misfortune, but we are still absolutely targeting that.”
Alpine are sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with eight points, 54 off their target of P4.
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