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Ocon enjoys Paul Ricard outing in 2018 car as Alpine launch date approaches

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Esteban Ocon has blown off the cobwebs ahead of the start of the 2021 F1 season with a run-out at Paul Ricard in a 2018-spec Renault R.S.18, taking to the track with the car wrapped in Alpine’s striking ‘winter livery’.

The Frenchman is preparing for his second season with the Enstone squad, as they finalise their transition from Renault into Alpine this year, with Ocon heading out on track at an overcast Circuit Paul Ricard for his first laps in an F1 car in 2021.

READ MORE: Alpine already in talks about placing junior drivers with other F1 teams, Academy boss reveals

Alpine will be launching their 2021 car, the A521, on March 2, the same day as reigning champions Mercedes reveal their new W12.

Ocon’s test came a day after Alpine Academy member and F2 runner Christian Lundgaard spent a day in the car at the same circuit, the Dane clocking up nearly 600km of running over 100 laps of Paul Ricard.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Ocon’s 2021 team mate, returning two-time champion Fernando Alonso, will be handed the same opportunity to drive F1 machinery ahead of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 12-14, with the Spaniard having been involved in cycling accident earlier this month that broke his jaw – with Alonso currently recovering at home.

READ MORE: Alonso says he’s 'ok and looking forward to getting 2021 underway' after surgery on broken jaw

Also in testing action on February 22, meanwhile, were the new Ferrari pairing of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the duo heading out on track a few hundred kilometres away at Jerez as part of a Pirelli test for the 18-inch tyres due to make their debut in Formula 1 in 2022.

Top image courtesy of Alpine F1 Team’s Twitter

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