Gasly and Ocon “will work well together” at Alpine despite past tensions

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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Alpine team management are sure Esteban Ocon and new team mate Pierre Gasly will put their past differences aside and be productive rather than obstructive when they join forces at the team next year.

Gasly was chosen as Ocon’s new team mate for next year after Alpine lost their first two choices for the seat. Incumbent Fernando Alonso will leave to join Aston Martin while reserve driver Oscar Piastri stunned the team by switching to McLaren.

Gasly’s current employer Red Bull has agreed to release him from his 2023 contract with AlphaTauri to join Alpine. He and Ocon – both from Normandy in France – had closely aligning careers as youngsters in karting, but their on-track rivalry intensified as they made their way into single-seaters.

“I started to beat him and he didn’t like it so we’re not friends any more,” Gasly said of their relationship in 2018.

Gasly beat Ocon to the 2013 Formula Renault Eurocup, then they did not race each other again until both were on the F1 grid in 2017. However Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer is confident the pair will have a constructive relationship next year.

“They’ve known each other for a very long time and they’ve raced together,” he said. “They’re about equally experienced, they’re both very fast, both ambitious. So I think they’ll work well together.”

Ocon, who joined Alpine in 2020 when it was known as Renault and is contracted to the team until at least the end of 2024, was informed about Alpine’s intentions to sign Gasly before it was announced. Although Ocon publicly declared a preference for Mick Schumacher as his next team mate, he has commented this year that his relationship with Gasly has improved since their junior careers.

“We made an informed decision,” Szafnauer continued. “And that means talking to the entire team, including Esteban beforehand, to make sure that if we did make a decision, it’s a team sport and we have to be able to work together and optimise.

“And Esteban was very supportive, Pierre as well. They’re professionals and they have no issue working together. And hopefully, the friendship will rekindle. They were friends at one point, but from a professional perspective, they’re both very happy to work with each other.”

It will be the first time that Gasly has raced for a French team since his Formula E cameo with DAMS at the 2017 New York E-Prix.

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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24 comments on “Gasly and Ocon “will work well together” at Alpine despite past tensions”

  1. Until they have their first on-track battle, or one of them gets preferential treatment with an update, I’m sure they’ll get along just splendidly.

    1. Agreed, once they are together on tarmac it’s going to be “I’m faster then x, let me past” with some amount of explosive ending!

      We’ve seen Ocon be overly aggressive with teammates previously, Gasly I think will be more sensible and follow team orders better.

    2. I don’t think they’ll share track very often. Ocon is sneaky but he should be a good .2 to .3 ahead of Gasly, so maybe no fireworks.

      1. Gasly will beat Ocon consistently once he’s established himself in the team. That’s my prediction. I just don’t find Ocon impressive.

        1. I really dislike Gasly, but I really, really dislike Ocon and I think Ocon will either fully humiliate Gasly or they’ll end up glued together. I put each at about 50%. I think Gasly is quite dim and if things don’t go his way I bet he’ll quickly alienate the team. Ocon is liable to do the same, but with more security.

  2. As long as the Alpine team is generally only good for 7th through, say, 12th place it won’t really matter.

  3. Alpine team management are sure

    Alpine team management was previously sure that they had Oscar Piastri under contract and could dictate the length of Fernando Alonso’s next Formula 1 contract.

    At the very best, “Alpine team management are sure” has no correlation with reality, and the evidence for negative correlation is mounting.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      12th October 2022, 12:11

      It’s pretty extreme but I think I’d choose to believe something Toto or Horner said before the “Alpine Team management.” Toto and Horner lie in obvious ways and you can tell when they’re doing it so it’s fairly easy to read. Szafnauer and the rest of the management team at Alpine don’t seem to even know if the things they say themselves are true or not….

  4. To the extent to which this is possible with Ocon..

  5. I think childhood mate rivalry of Esteban-Pierre will be worse than Lewis-Nico. Cynic Esteban will be back, and it will worsen any dispute between them. It only never shows up when he was with Fernando, a senior driver, a two times world champions. I hope Alpine would be competitive next year so the drama would be televised.

    1. slamdunkeinstein
      12th October 2022, 10:34

      A match made in Netflix production office’s heaven

    2. Rossi’s ego was all over this signing. They clearly should have signed Daniel for basically free to a one year deal. However, after the Piastri thing, his ego couldn’t deal with signing McLaren’s castoff.

  6. At least it has all the ingredients to have a bit of drama…hope Alpine can have a competitive car and that Gasly can have a better season

  7. I’m calling it right now that Alpine will have a fast car next year, capable of podiums and wins (equivalent of RBR 2014 – 2020) and Gasly and Ocon will fall out big time.

    1. Highly doubt they will challenge for a win next year. If they were, Oscar Piastri and Alonso wouldn’t have taken a chance on another team.

      1. You’re talking about Fernando Alonso, the formula 1 driver?

        1. lol, even as an Alonso fan, I laughed at OP too. Anyway, there is no way for drivers to know what gains or losses next year’s chassis will make. I think fhey’ll be fast too. But between Gasly being really dim and prone to questionable stunts and Ocon being the worst teammate who will be lost without Alonso’s data to look at, it’s going to be amusing to see how disastrous this pairing is in 2023.

  8. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    12th October 2022, 12:57

    Ocon has really bad personality. His ego is much bigger than his driving talent.

  9. The tale about the “tensions” has been blown out of proportions. It was over a decade ago, when they were teenagers, trying to reach F1.
    Now they are older, in F1 and need to help the team to get to forefront. Sure, they’ll fight on track, and it will be fun for us to watch. More than Pérez being told two times to let Verstappen by at the Spanish GP.

  10. “They’re about equally experienced, they’re both very fast, both ambitious. So I think they’ll work well together.”

    Otmars logic completely eludes me here….

    1. I noticed that too. A lot of people in F1 seem to be intelligent on engineering and operational matters, but have zero common sense.

  11. Can’t say if any of them will ever get a chance to fight for the title but if that happens i would bet on Ocon. The main peculiarity of Gasly is trying to be faster than he is. Pressure is always on. Sometimes it works and he can have a brilliant race. If it doesn’t work he’s just terrible. Ocon is different type of driver, counts on consistency. He’s not Prost, he’s not Alonso, but has glimpses of it, especially if he cathes the wind. Won against Verstappen in F3 by consistency. 27 races without DNF in 2016-17. Scored points in 18 of 20 races in 2017. Looks like he lost it after one year of absence but still i wouldn’t write him off.

    1. Pérez did the same, scoring points in almost every race in 2017 and having very few retirements. I agree Ocon is consistent and Gasly is more prone to mental imbalance, but if Gasly can repeat the impressive performance he had in 2020 and 2021, then Ocon will definitely have a tough time.

  12. He will be lost without Alonso’s data traces. I notice that he always lags behind early in each session before he gets to see Alo’s data.

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