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Formula 1

Szafnauer praises “super talent” Ocon

Esteban Ocon at the Hungarian GP. Credits: @OsOfficialF1 (Twitter).

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes that Esteban Ocon is capable of being the outfit’s leader in the future.

After Fernando Alonso’s switch to Aston Martin was announced, Alpine stated that Oscar Piastri will replace the Spaniard in 2023. However, the Australian denied it hours later amid the reports of his possible agreement with McLaren.

Though Alpine are claiming that Piastri is obliged to drive for them, they are also looking for other drivers. Ocon, who has a contract with Alpine until at least the end of 2024, is likely to become the team’s leader.

Szafnauer has praised the Frenchman’s performance and is confident that he can lead the team.

“Esteban is a super talent. I worked with him at Force India and those were the days of Sergio Perez as his teammate,” he said.

“And he was as quick as Sergio and raced Sergio hard, and if you remember those days, they were always together on the grid. And sometimes they even came together in the races! And we see what Sergio is capable of.

“With Fernando too, although Fernando’s got the skill and the talent to get a lap out of the car very quickly.

“He needs three or four laps and he’s at 99%, or 99.9%, and that extra 0.1% comes with a few laps more, if you know what I mean, whereas Esteban takes a little bit more time to get the maximum out of the car.

“But ultimately, on Saturday, and then Sunday, he’s there. So he needs to learn a little bit to get there a bit faster. But we’re working with him on that.

“And thereafter, can he lead the team? For sure he’s getting better and better. He’s got a race win under his belt. He’s scored good points for us this year. And he’ll learn more by the time we get to next year.”

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