In addition to what has already been a troubled weekend for the French manufacturer, with Pierre Gasly starting 19th in both the sprint and main race after mechanical problems and a crash on Friday, the team was hit with further problems on Saturday .
Ocon had qualified 13th for the Sprint, one position further back than he should have lined up in the long race, but now he will no longer take his place on the grid.
Alpine confirmed after Sprint qualifying that Ocon’s car had been removed from parc ferme.
The Sprint format requires drivers to be bound by their regulations from the start of Friday qualifying, and Alpine’s modifications to its car come with punishment.
The new regulation stipulates that any change to the car’s parameters between the start of qualifying and the start of the Sprint will result in a pitlane start for both Saturday’s short race and Sunday’s main Grand Prix.
Alpine’s difficult weekend came after they had high hopes of good performances thanks to a revised fund introduced in Baku.
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
While there was always the risk of running into problems with the introduction of major new components during the busy Sprint schedule, team principal Otmar Szafnauer said it was ultimately the reliability issues that cost the most.
Speaking to Motorsport.com at the start of the weekend, Szafnauer said: “We made this choice. And it may have cost us dearly, but we couldn’t predict the reliability issues. Had we known we had half an hour of FP1, we would have made a different choice.”
“So, hindsight is a nice thing. But with an hour to spare, we thought we had enough time to make the necessary set-up adjustments.”
Gasly was held up on Friday by a fire in his car, triggered by a hydraulic leak and then he had hit the barriers at the start of Q1, putting himself out of action.