In 2021 F1 trialled sprint races at three grands prix to a mixed reception, the latest push by F1's owner Liberty Media to find new ways of engaging fans and growing the sport.

Efforts to improve the spectacle also include drastic new technical regulations for 2022 as well an ever-decreasing budget gap, awarding a point for the fastest lap and other novelties.

While not all fans are enjoying the direction F1 is heading, Alpine driver Ocon commends the championship's chiefs for trying out new ways to make the grand prix racing more interesting, as an incredible tight 2021 championship and Netflix's Drive to Survive series have drawn many new fans to the sport.

“I think it’s fantastic the way that Formula 1 is evolving," Ocon said. "Of course, there are still things that we could just clean up or have better, but I think the way we are trying things, the way the races were interesting, the way there is opportunities nowadays – it’s just crazy until the last lap.

"That last lap in 2021 really sums up the whole season because it’s been like that in 2020, it’s been like that in 2021, and if we have the cars closer together, I think it probably will overtake football in terms of how interesting it’s going to be.

"Everyone talks about Formula 1, I have some friends that were not really into the sport, now they are completely watching. It’s just great. It’s also nice that we tried some new formats for us, it was really good, because it gave us a chance to fight back even if we were not fast enough to get into the top 10."

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21

Ocon certainly has fond memories of 2021 after taking his maiden win at the Hungarian Grand Prix and says the reduced differences between all the teams has given midfielders an outside chance to compete for podiums and even wins if the frontrunners hit trouble.

In addition to Ocon's Budapest win, Daniel Ricciardo gifted McLaren a first win in nine years in Italy, while in 2020 AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly also took a shock win at Monza.

"I remember 2017, 2018, where if you were finishing P6 it was like a win, you never had an opportunity, never, to be on the podium, to be in the lead," Ocon reflected.

"And now you’ve seen Daniel, you’ve seen Pierre, you’ve seen myself, you’ve seen many different cars on the podium. It’s amazing, it’s what we want.

"I think the whole sport, nobody would say that they are against that."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble and Luke Smith

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