Esteban Ocon found himself in a dangerous situation during the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. After starting from the pitlane and finishing in fifteenth position, Ocon was required to make a pit stop on the last lap. To his surprise, photographers and other paddock members were already in the pitlane, preparing for the podium celebration.
Ocon stated, “I don’t understand why we are starting to prepare the podium and the ceremony when we are still racing, there is one lap to go and there are still people who didn’t pit.” The French driver had a close call as he had to avoid hitting the barriers and people at nearly 100 km/h. He emphasized that this should be a topic of discussion, as it’s something nobody wants to see in the sport.
FIA Investigates Incident
The FIA announced that they were investigating the incident in the pitlane on the final lap. They summoned their staff responsible for managing the parc ferme area at pit entry to report to the stewards. Ocon described the situation as a “crazy moment” that could have ended in disaster, saying, “If I miss the braking point, it is a big disaster, so that is a crazy moment.”
As a result of the incident, the FIA called for immediate changes to the end-of-race pitlane protocol, with input from Formula One Management and the FIA, to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The FIA representatives expressed regret for the incident and assured that necessary steps would be taken in time for the next event.
Alpine’s Disappointing Weekend
Alpine had a challenging weekend in Azerbaijan, despite bringing new parts for their car. Ocon started the race from the pitlane on hard tires, hoping for a late safety car or red flag that would provide a strategic advantage. Unfortunately, that opportunity never came, and Ocon had to make a pit stop on the final lap.
His teammate, Pierre Gasly, also struggled during the race. This marks the second consecutive race weekend without points for Alpine, as they now shift their focus to the upcoming Miami Grand Prix.