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Alpine finally breaks through in Miami

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MIAMI — Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce might want to check on their Formula 1 team more often.

A slow start to the 2024 Formula 1 season finally saw Alpine break through Sunday in the Miami Grand Prix. After weeks of development, close calls, and steps forward, a tenth-place finish from Esteban Ocon saw the team earn their first point of the season. The result pulls them out of the bottom of the F1 Constructors’ Standings, and into eighth place, ahead of Sauber and Williams.

On the other side of the garage Pierre Gasly finished 12th, his best result of the season.

All week long here in Miami both Ocon, Gasly, and Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan talked about the steps forward the team was making with the A524. Both drivers advanced to Q2 during Saturday evening’s qualifying session, and with Ocon starting the race in P12 and Ocon in P13, it was the team’s best starting position of the entire season.

“I think we can be pleased,” said Gasly following qualifying to the media, including SB Nation. “And it just shows we are heading in the right direction.”

Then came Sunday’s drive from Ocon, which saw the Alpine driver fend off Nico Hülkenberg for the final points position. Although speaking with the media following the race, Ocon admitted that had the Miami Grand Prix been a few laps longer, the story might have been different.

“I think today, you know, if you ten more laps probably, Nico would have been very close in fighting with us again,” said Ocon to the media, including SB Nation, after the Miami Grand Prix. “I had to fight my way through in that race. It was insane how many moves I had to do.”

Ocon also put the team’s journey to this point in perspective.

“We don’t want to be jumping around and celebrating too hard. Obviously, it’s only a top ten,” described Ocon. “But considering where you know we were, a couple of races ago in Bahrain, 19th and 20th. I think, you know, we can take the positive out of this race and, baby steps that we are doing at the moment.

“And that obviously feels good because, the team kept motivated, kept trying to understand what is going on with our pace. And it hasn’t been the smoothest weekend, I would say, but you know, it’s two races that we come close to the points. 11 in Shanghai, tenth today,” continued Ocon. “We are inside the points and yeah, it feels good to come out of this weekend with some reward.”

For his part Team Principal Bruno Famin hailed a “faultless” performance from the entire organization.

“It’s our first point of the season today, so from a sporting perspective, that is satisfying for us. We had a clear plan where one car would try to pit early and undercut the cars around us while the other car would take a gamble by running a longer first stint in hope of a [Virtual Safety Car], [Safety Car], or red flag scenario,” said Famin. “On this occasion this is how it unfolded and it was Esteban who scored the point in tenth place.

“It was a faultless race from everyone in the team – strategy, race management, pit-stops – and we did enough to put ourselves in a position for the team to benefit. It’s been a much more positive weekend here in Miami and we must keep striving for more if we are to keep fighting for higher positions. The hard work will continue as we eye up returning to Europe next time out.”

Not to be outdone is the flawless weekend from Abbi Pulling, the team’s F1 Academy driver. Pulling dominated the field this weekend, starting — and winning — both races in wire-to-wire fashion. Pulling extended her F1 Academy Championship lead to 34 points over Mercedes driver Dorine Pin.

In all, a tremendous weekend for Alpine, and perhaps some reasons for Mahomes and Kelce to come around more often.


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