Ocon Asserts Pirelli F1 Wet Tires Were a Poor Choice Throughout the Race

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Esteban Ocon didn’t mince words after the race, asserting that the wet tires were a “misfit for every single lap.” He believed that if the weather truly warranted these tires, it would lead to a race-halting red flag—which, as it turned out, was exactly the case.

Ocon did manage to secure one point by finishing 10th. Meanwhile, his teammate, Pierre Gasly, gave their team Alpine F1 a morale lift by landing in third place. Yet Ocon couldn’t shake off the feeling that he could have had a better outcome.

Initially falling behind, Ocon could only switch to intermediate tires on the second lap because Gasly had pitted just before him at the end of lap one. Alpine chose not to have both cars pit at the same time, forcing Ocon to delay his tire change for another lap later in the race when rain made its encore appearance.

When he finally did pit for the second time, he was advised by his engineer to opt for full wet tires rather than intermediates due to impending “massive” rainfall. Ocon was skeptical from the get-go, muttering, “Switch to inters, guys,” as he navigated the pit lane from what was, momentarily, a sixth-place position.

Ocon found himself alone in the choice of full wet tires, a decision he instantaneously lamented after just a few corners, expressing, “This is an absolute blunder, guys.”

Upon being informed of “monsoon-like” conditions for the next few minutes, Ocon retorted, “Sure, but if it becomes unmanageable, they’ll call a red flag anyway.” Right on cue, a crash involving Guanyu Zhou led to a red flag, pausing the race with Ocon in 11th place after losing two positions during the pit stops. Red Bull drivers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen also later chose to equip full wet tires.

Captured by his cockpit camera, Ocon couldn’t hide his disappointment, shaking his head while parked in the pit lane. He managed to gain one position to end up 10th after George Russell pitted due to a punctured tire. Still, Ocon felt that more was left on the table.

“We just fumbled away some valuable points there,” said Ocon. “The call for full wets was a poor one, and we also pitted a lap later than I’d have preferred. The team wasn’t ready with my set of tires when I called it in, forcing me to stay out on slicks in wet conditions. That mistake cost me five places, moving me from sixth to eleventh.”

When questioned by F1 Flow.com if Red Bull’s later switch to wets indicated that the call could have paid off, Ocon was dismissive. “Not at all. Firstly, Red Bull has a buffer up front; we don’t have that luxury. Secondly, if full wet tires are needed, it essentially means it’s unsafe to continue the race, warranting a red flag. And that’s precisely what happened.”

Ocon also conveyed his frustration over missing the chance to pit for intermediates on the first lap, when Gasly and others had made their stops. “It’s happened before, at Spa and here,” he said. “However, even considering that, we could’ve finished in sixth place today. What really cost us was the last pit stop.”

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TireTalkTim August 28, 2023 - 2:33 pm

Well I guess this makes it clear that tire strategy ain’t just about rubber, its a whole science. Ocon was let down for sure.

F1Fanatic August 28, 2023 - 4:44 pm

Tires can really make or break a race can’t they? Ocon had a point. If it’s so wet you need those tires, maybe it’s too wet to race lol.

CasualCarl August 28, 2023 - 6:35 pm

Whoa, Ocon’s frustration was so visible, man. Can’t blame him though, it’s like telling a chef to bake a cake but giving him ingredients for a salad.

MotorHeadMike August 28, 2023 - 7:38 pm

Man, Ocon had a rough day huh? Feel like the team kinda let him down with that tire choice. Dude knows his stuff, should’ve listened to him.

JustJenny August 28, 2023 - 10:18 pm

I feel for Ocon, really do. Seems like the team needs a strategy overhaul. When the driver himself questions the decision, you know somethings up.

SpeedDemon August 29, 2023 - 12:35 am

Ocon finishing 10th is still something, but yeah, could’ve been way better. Also, kudos to Gasly. He’s the unsung hero here.

SarahTheAnalyst August 29, 2023 - 5:51 am

Alpine’s gotta do better with their pit strategy, otherwise they’re jus wastin talent. Ocon coulda been P6 or better, easily.

RaceRambler August 29, 2023 - 7:57 am

that moment when Ocon shook his head in the pit, I felt that. Dude deserved better.

NoNonsenseNancy August 29, 2023 - 8:23 am

Ocon’s point about the red flag situation is spot on. If you need full wets, its probably too dangerous to continue. Just common sense, right?


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