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Ocon makes Alpine declaration after McLaren triumph

Ocon makes Alpine declaration after McLaren triumph

Ocon makes Alpine declaration after McLaren triumph

Ocon makes Alpine declaration after McLaren triumph

Esteban Ocon has declared Alpine "next in line" to enter the fray with F1's big three teams after clinching fourth in the constructors' standings.

One of the sport's four works teams, the French manufacturer has flattered to deceive since returning as Renault in 2016.

But under the guidance of Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso, a strong foundation for the future has been laid with F1 entering a new regulatory era.

The A522 showed strong pace across traditional circuits and street tracks to underline the improvements made by the Enstone and Viry-based outfit.

The final standings could also have reflected a much stronger position over rival McLaren had it not been for a flurry of reliability issues.

READ MORE...Alonso brands Ocon debut victory a 100-year fluke

With regulations set up to create a more level playing field and a likely convergence in the coming years, despite the advantages held by Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, Ocon insisted: "We are on the right path.

"It is the hardest step, for sure, because from fifth to fourth is close but from fourth to third there is a bigger gap.

“I’m not going to say that is going to be an easy thing to achieve straightaway but with the rate of development that we have had this year, if we can keep that going in the winter...I have already tested next year’s car in the simulator and it is very promising.

“So at some point, with the same regulations, with the same engine, it is going to be close.

"And at some point with the same rules, the top teams won’t find big ideas all the time and we will all catch up at the top.

"We are the next in line.”

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