Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Alpine won’t allow Alonso and Ocon to fight during last 20 laps of race

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Alpine are happy to allow Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon to continue to fight each other on track but won’t hesitate to call off future scraps if it risks costing the team points.

The pair fought for position over several laps in the early stages of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but lost up to one-and-a-half seconds per lap at times.

Ocon said he enjoyed the fight with his team mate but appreciated it had come at a cost to the team’s position in the race as it allowed Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen to close on the pair.

“Of course when you fight, the same as in go-karts, you lose time, it’s normal,” he said. “But [in] one-stop race, track position is quite important.

“We are allowed to race by the team. It’s always a privilege to race with Fernando so it makes me smile.”

Although the pair came close to contact at times, Alonso said they took care not to collide. “We know before we start that we can race but never touch each other, so we never do,” he said.

He eventually got the better of his team mate and pulled away before retiring with a technical problem. “I felt that my car was in the window working a little bit better today so I had the opportunity to overtake and pull away a little bit,” he said. “The main threat, as I said, it was Bottas. Bottas was fast today and it was not easy to keep him behind.”

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Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said he was satisfied with how his two drivers conducted themselves. “They did exactly what we talked about before the race, and it was good for everybody.

Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Ocon went off at one stage during his fight with Alonso
“As it turned out, had Fernando not stopped on track, we would have been sixth and seventh and we would have given the fans – and we did give the fans – a bit of a show. And I think that’s what it’s about. You’ve got to let them race.”

However he admitted they were “losing a little bit more time than I anticipated” and confirmed that if they were in the same position at the end of the race Alpine would call off the fight.

“We will definitely do that,” he said. “In all my time in Formula 1, when I was in a position to be able to tell the drivers what to do if, at the end of the race, 10 laps to go, even 15 laps to go, there is no value in swapping the two, meaning you can’t catch the guy in front of you and nobody behind you can catch the two of you. You hold station.

“That’s really hard to do at the beginning of the race because you can you can’t predict what’s going to happen. But towards the end of the race, if there’s 10 laps, 15 laps, 20 laps to go, it is about maximising the team points. If a ‘hold station’ means maximising team points, that’s the way to go.”

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Alpine won’t allow Alonso and Ocon to fight during last 20 laps of race”

  1. Thanks for allowing them to race I enjoyed it. Hope more teams will follow this example because this is what the fans are tuning in for. Maybe the FIA should reward this kind of inter team battles at the end of the year extra bonus points for the best battle or at least some jelly beans.

    1. Absolutely agreed! I hope the sponsors appreciated the spotlight the fight gave to both cars.
      But as far as awarding points, that idea makes no sense. You don’t allow style-points. It’s not figure skating.

      1. BWT was covered all over the screen all race. I hope it makes sponsors push for team fights too.

    2. Again, like bahrain 2014 nobody allowed nobody to race. Nobody had the guts to decidedly order them not to fight and end up seeing both drivers disregard the call. Eventually when the team told Ocon not to fight back, Ocon made the strategic blunder of losing DRS then proceeded to publicly roast his team, which prompted the director to cut to Otmar’s bwt face. Alpine in shambles.

  2. I noticed some of the old ocon. Fighting with a teammate and losing the big picture. Ultimately crashing into his teammate.
    It was only by the talent of Alonso nothing really happened.

    1. Yep, I am French ans following Ocon since the early days – but I was shouting at him yesterday – as did my friends – because he seemed so stubborn and not thinking about the bigger pictures, the team itself.

    2. Do you think lewis had talent in brazil or of not turning in in jeddah t 1?

      1. It seems you are a bit stuck in a selfinflicting loop.
        There are more (and better) drivers then Lewis.
        Last year he should have been black flagged for his attack on max in Silverstone.
        That would have avoided a lot of nastyness.

        1. Indeed! But he was compensated for it at Abu Dhabi.

  3. Wonder if there’s a smarter way of working together using DRS to improve lap times for both cars, instead of shutting doors on each other. Something like slipstreaming round Silverstone and Monza 50 years ago, but with today’s aero…

    1. That’s what I thought when watching them battling. Some synchronized position swap every lap on the straight with DRS would have been much more efficient time-wise. Probably not easy to do with Bottas lurking though.

      1. @bullfrog
        Bump drafting


    2. @bullfrog
      That’s a great point! It’s totally possible. We saw it with Verstappen and Perez in season’s finale as well as during a couple of qualifyings. Aerodynamical draft is much stronger in F1 than it is in cycling, and then you have DRS on top of that.

    3. Don’t think it is possible in general, the disruption from the other car is still too big, or so it seems. I went back to lap 25 in the battle between Magnussen and Hamilton. On lap 25 Magnussen “backed off” letting Hamilton go, but set up perfectly to get DRS and he was still slower compared to lap 24 on which he overtook Hamilton – but they both kept loosing time overall despite the fairly clean overtaking.
      There is one track though I believe it could be possible, in Abu Dhabi, with the two major DRS zones on straights right after one another.

  4. There’s something about pink cars, Szafnauer and Ocon that tends to cause these types of fitghts and subsequent rules. :)

    1. @mattds Indeed. Their battle reminded me of the 2017 Ocon-Perez incidents.

  5. Other than the first block that Ocon threw, was fair racing

  6. It will go well im certain lol.
    A team is above everyone, easily yesterday when Alonso first attacked, they could had said as other teams say “let him pass he seem faster”. With what happened yesterday, Russel went away.

  7. After the first overtake attemp I feared that they would crash. It looked like mclaren alonso v 2017 Ocon but they didn’t even touch. Well done guys

  8. It was entertaining to watch, but definitely hampered the perfect result for the Alpine team. I’m actually quite surprised that Alonso appears to be more of a team player since last season, than Ocon. He drove his rear end off in Hungary to keep Lewis behind and give Ocon the win. Generally, when he was off pace as compared to his teammate, he wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. Ocon though, would risk collision and put the team behind his goal of finishing in front of his teammate.

    Ocon though, still feels like an insecure driver who feels like he has something to prove. He’s only proved himself to be immature, a poor team player, and a slightly better than mediocre talent over the years. I hope Alonso smashes him to bits this season.

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