RACE DEBRIEF

    Esteban Ocon has committed his future to Alpine by signing a three-year contract that will keep him at the French Formula 1 team until at least the end of 2024.

    The Frenchman joined the outfit, when they were known as Renault, at the start of the 2020 campaign and after a slow start, scored his maiden F1 podium at the penultimate race of the season in Bahrain.

    ANALYSIS: Why Alpine and Ocon have decided to stick together for the long-term

    This year, the 24-year-old has on average outperformed his more decorated double world champion team mate Fernando Alonso, who returned to F1 this year after a two-year hiatus, scoring points four times in six Grands Prix.

    On the eve of the French Grand Prix, his and the team’s home race, it was announced Ocon – whose relationship with the Enstone team began back in 2010 when he was a Lotus junior driver – had inked a new deal.

    From Manor debut to new deal with Alpine: Ocon's F1 career so far

    Alpine said the extension “highlights the team’s belief in the Frenchman as a star of the sport and its commitment to its long-term goal of World Championship success”.

    The team’s CEO Laurent Rossi said: “We are very proud to retain Esteban as part of the Alpine family. Since returning to the team in 2020, Esteban has grown in confidence and stature to deliver consistently good results and help develop the car with the team.

    “Despite his young age, he is very experienced in Formula 1 and he’s on a positive trajectory in both his maturity and ability behind the wheel. He is a strong asset for us now, and also going forward as we meet the challenge of the new regulations.

    “We have every confidence in Esteban to help drive the team and the brand to the next level and meet its long-term objectives. Esteban is an asset for us beyond F1 as he is deeply involved in the Alpine global project.

    2020 Sakhir Grand Prix: Ocon joy after claiming first Formula 1 podium

    “Thanks to his personality and values, Esteban is naturally a perfect ambassador of Alpine. For now, we look forward to continuing the 2021 campaign at our home Grand Prix in France and doing the best possible job at every remaining race weekend.”

    Ocon added: “I’m delighted to continue with the team beyond this year and it’s a fantastic feeling to secure my future with Alpine. We’ve been progressing well together since I joined the team and I aim to continue that journey going forward.

    READ MORE: Ocon calls P5 in Spain qualifying ‘the confirmation Alpine needed’ of improved pace

    “There are great challenges ahead of us, especially with the new regulations in 2022. I’m sure we can hit our targets by working hard together and continuing the story. I often think back to the Sakhir Grand Prix last year with the podium, and it motivates me to create more special memories like that.

    “I’m really looking forward to the next chapter but, for now, we’re very much focused on this season and taking each race as it comes.”

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    Ocon is 12th in the Championship, one point behind Alonso, before the French Grand Prix