Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Ocon told Alpine he wants Schumacher as team mate amid Gasly rumours

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon has told his Alpine team who he would prefer to drive alongside next year as they seek a replacement for Fernando Alonso.

Alpine has already announced Oscar Piastri will take the seat vacated by Alonso next year. However the team’s reserve driver has insisted he will not drive for them, and the Contract Recognition Board is due to meet tomorrow to decide whether Alpine or McLaren has a claim to Piastri.

But in the event Alpine is not successful in its attempt to hold on to Piastri – or it wins the case and opts to dispense with his services anyway – Ocon has already indicated a preference for his next team mate.

“I don’t know what the team will decide,” he told media including RaceFans at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday. “I have no words really to comment on that.

“I said to the bosses that my preference would be Mick Schumacher. Because if he doesn’t find a solution, I’m very happy to team up with him, he’s a good friend of mine.

“But again, I have no words in what the decision will be, this is only my opinion. So I thought it was quite nice just to tell what I would like but that’s not going to be a factor.”

Schumacher made his F1 debut for Haas last year and is a reserve driver for Ferrari. His destination for 2023 has not yet been confirmed.

“I have no idea about the situation,” Ocon added, “but since there is no contract being signed anywhere, I would say if we try and get Mick that would be nice.”

Pierre Gasly, who is contracted to AlphaTauri for next year, has also been tipped as a potential target for Alpine. He and Ocon have not always got on well having been rivals during their karting years. However Ocon said yesterday the pair have a respectful relationship. “It’s going well,” he said, “we have respect for each other, I think that’s important.”

Daniel Ricciardo, who was Ocon’s team mate at the outfit in 2020 when it competed as Renault, has also been tipped for a return. “I’m always ready for any challenges,” said Ocon, “but I’m sure whoever comes will also be strong for the team and the team will do the best decision possible.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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14 comments on “Ocon told Alpine he wants Schumacher as team mate amid Gasly rumours”

  1. I had no idea until yesterday that Ocon and Gasly have a bit of needle between them. I don’t think it’s a particularly great look to go to your team and tell them who you want as your teammate. Though I’m not naive enough to believe that it doesn’t happen – Senna / Warwick springs to mind, and I think we know drivers of a higher standing than Ocon have had vetos written in contracts.

    I’m not sure going public with it is a great idea. I guess Ocon would just say he’s being honest. I would have kept it to myself and asked the team to do the same and done the typical ‘I’m happy to race against whomever – I’m just focusing on me etc’.

    1. The way it’s presented here, I don’t actually think it looks bad on Ocon at all @bernasaurus. I’ve heard that Ocon and Mick are good friends, so telling the team he would like to have this friend of him in the car is fine IMO.

      I think Sky or F1 TV had an episode with Will Buxton a few years back where both commented on why and how the bad feelings between Gasly and Ocon came up after having been initially pretty close in their karting days

      1. So basicaly the same as Charles and Max and they moved further from that.

        1. I think there was something about the one having taken the others opportunity, or being perceived to have done so @macleod – since they were both vying for support from French companies for sponsorship to further their careers.

          1. @bascb – That sounds more serious! putting them in the same team is certain that only 1 will be left!

  2. If I were Alpine, the fact that Ocon wants Schumacher as his teammate would be another reason not to take him. Those two are not going to push each other to new heights. To think that Alpine could have had Alonso and Piastri, with better management …

    1. Quite! Someone in Alpine’s management is going to have to explain how they went from a potential ‘Alonso-Piastri’ line-up to an ‘Ocon-Gasly’ or, even less appealing, an ‘Ocon-Schumacher’ line-up. That’s going to be a tough sell. Perhaps that’s why Szafnauer is publicly blaming everyone except himself.

  3. Gasly or Ocon to Alpha Tauri. Schumacher to LMP2 or Ferrari’s WEC hypercar program.

  4. Ocon wants the slowest possible driver with the least experience.

    1. Slowest?

      Last i checked Mick has more WDC points than Tsunoda, Latifi, Albon, Stroll and Zhou.
      And i consider all those teams to be faster than Haas. Even Williams.

  5. There’s a few players at Alpine to keep happy and I’m sure at least some of them would like all French – I would have thought it’s unlikely Marko will be accomodating, he’s already said no in public. I’m not sure how good Mick would be for marketing for them.
    Up to me, I’d be going for cheap Ricciardo with performance clauses and if it doesn’t pan out – Gasly in ’24.

  6. Alpine should go for:
    – Danny Ric
    – Gasly
    – Schumacher

    They need experience, and Ocon doesn’t have enough of yet. Schumacher has even less, so he’s not really a great choice in my mind.

  7. Alpine ought to go full Red Bull and hire Pierre-Daniel, that satisfies the French driver requirement and gives them two drivers who are better than Esteban.

  8. For what’s on the table? Gasly.
    Ocon is no amateur either. Just not as good as the top guys. Actually surprised he is doing so well against Alonso.
    When Gasly can outperform his car with Alpine, they can score some serious points.
    The main question is, Why didn’t he perform at RB and would Alpine be able to steer away from the same thing happening?

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