In the thrilling final stages of the race, Esteban Ocon‘s A523 displayed a dramatic oscillation of the rear wing at high speed, as captured by the onboard camera. Lando Norris of McLaren, who was closely trailing the Alpine car, expressed his concern regarding the safety implications of the situation.
Under the current regulations set by the FIA, teams are responsible for assessing the safety of their vehicles in cases where loose bodywork becomes an issue. Despite the concerns raised, Alpine made the decision to continue the race, deeming it safe. Ocon went on to finish in eighth place.
When questioned about the incident, Racing Point Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer, acknowledged the uncertainty that comes with evaluating such situations in hindsight. However, he stressed that the wing did not fail and remained intact. Szafnauer highlighted their involvement in the design and manufacturing of the wing, enabling them to be well-acquainted with its failure modes. He expressed confidence in the extensive testing conducted during the research and development process, which assured them that the wing would not detach.
Notably, Szafnauer revealed that the team had engaged in conversations with race control during the event. The FIA had approached them regarding the apparent movement of the rear wing, prompting discussions with the team. Ultimately, they were confident that the wing would hold up until the end of the race, making a couple more laps before crossing the finish line.
Despite finishing behind Alex Albon, who utilized a one-stop strategy, Ocon‘s team believed that had they followed a similar approach, they could have secured a better position. Racing Point contended that Williams‘ decision to make one last stop was a risk they were willing to take, as it offered little chance of earning points had they not made the stop. Szafnauer noted that their team was significantly faster by around six to seven tenths of a lap, but due to Williams‘ low drag setup and effective utilization of DRS, Racing Point was unable to overtake them. In hindsight, Szafnauer acknowledged that they would have made the same pitstop as Williams, enabling them to finish higher in the rankings.
Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly‘s race was marred by a tire change shortly before the deployment of a safety car, which allowed his rivals to make a convenient pitstop under reduced time. As a result, Gasly concluded the race in 12th place. Szafnauer explained that the team made the decision to pit him early to take advantage of clean air, considering his strong underlying pace. However, the safety car’s intervention disrupted their strategy, compromising Gasly‘s chances of achieving a better result.