Rossi threatened to replace Alonso and Ocon for final race over Brazil clashes

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi revealed he threatened to replace drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon as punishment for the collisions between the pair at Interlagos.

The Alpine pair clashed twice on the opening lap of the sprint race for last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, damaging Alonso’s front wing as well as leaving a hole in the sidepod of Ocon’s car. Both failed to score as a result of the collisions, which also left them 16th and 17th on the grid for the grand prix.

With Alpine locked in a battle with McLaren for fourth place in the constructors’ championship, Rossi said he threatened to replace both drivers if they did not show more respect for each other on the track.

“I told the drivers, as long as they behave as adults, I’ll treat them as adults,” Rossi said. “So they can race, until the team is worse off – which happened last weekend.

“I reminded them of our contract and I reminded them of the fact that I have plenty of drivers that are longing to race in their place. And it would be a shame to finish the year with two other drivers, even if it costs me a lot.”

After their clash in the sprint race, both Alonso and Ocon recovered to score points despite starting in the bottom five positions on the grid.

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“They took their responsibility and they did a brilliant job,” Rossi said. “So, it happens to everyone.

“I guess this is what makes those drivers incredible champions. They have this killer instinct and sometimes it goes a bit too far. So, that’s my role as well, to bring them back into a better space.”

Rossi confirmed that the team did not impose team orders on their drivers during the grand prix to ensure there would not be a repeat of their sprint race troubles.

“We told them that, if we have to, they’ll have to follow the orders – but there were no team orders,” Rossi explained.

“We had two different strategies, we could not predict which one could yield the better outcome because it depends on the race conditions. But based on the pace, and the circumstances, we told them that, if we have to, we will impose swaps or things like that and they would have to comply – which they did.”

Alonso will depart Alpine for Aston Martin following this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi after two seasons racing with the team. Pierre Gasly will move from AlphaTauri to take over Alonso’s seat.

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
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 “Rossi threatened to replace Alonso and Ocon for final race over Brazil clashes”

  1. “I reminded them of our contract and I reminded them of the fact that I have plenty of drivers that are longing to race in their place.”

    Sure… Like Oscar Piastri?

    1. Actually Piastri is a great choice, because a lot of other one-time racers would look pretty bad and thus be really hesitant to jump in for such a showing, while Piastri already has a contract in place and wouldn’t feel that pressure.

      De Vries had the luck that he could fill in at what was perhaps the track best suited to the Williams car, but most other stand-in drivers have had little success.

  2. Was contract reminder truly necessary? I don’t entirely get this part.

    1. Maybe in the contract there’s written something in regards of not racing your team mate at the expense of the team’s results, or putting the team before your own interests.

    2. Reminding them they actually have one, it’s rare there

  3. yeah? and who are you going to replace them with? Piastri? or are you going to test 100 drivers at the hungaroring again?

  4. My theory is that their rivalry can be boiled down to:
    a. Ocon really wanting to finish the season ahead of the legendary Alonso
    b. Alonso really not happy with finishing the season behind Ocon

    1. Everyone who has watched this season knows that’s down to abysmal reliability and pit work on Alonso’s car but five years let alone 20 from now, no one will know or remember that. And Ocon knows that.

      So, this would be the second time a teammate ever scored more points in a season than Alonso and the other came during a season at McLaren in which it was really a case of whose car would only break down 60% of the time rather than 70%. lol

  5. Does he have any drivers with the necessary super license?

    1. Dale, I think there must be options open to them if required. Remember, if a driver becomes ill, they have to have reserve drivers to stand in at short notice, and we have had examples of that in recent years with drivers going down with appendicitis, covid, etc. I don’t know who Alpine’s reserve drivers are, but I think most teams have one who is paid a retainer fee to cover this contingency. They likely also have a test driver who spends hours in the simulator. And then there are drivers who have been in F1 relatively recently who are probably still superlicense qualified, like Vergne, Vandoorne, Buemi, Kubica. I don’t think it would be too difficult.

  6. What a load of BS.
    Alpine is desperate to finish 4th in the constructor’s championship and finding 2 drivers who could come close to ALO and OCO’s results would be all but impossible.
    I think Rossi had more to do with ALO leaving than anyone. He’s clueless.
    He shouldn’t be in the position he is in and next year, when Alpine go backwards because of ALO’s departure and the Piastri cock up, he will be the one with his head on the chopping block.
    I’m sure ALO and OCO got a good laugh out of it.

  7. Rossi’s huge ego made him come out and make this ridiculous statement. He knows he couldn’t have backed it up even if they weren’t fighting for 4th.

    He’s really going to enjoy having a dim witted Gasly paired with team mate crashed extraordinaire Ocon. If you thought, Ocon and Perez was bad, you’ll want to see this.

  8. Well, they proved that they can handle Ocon, by directly telling him what not to do. Although Alonso stil had to overtake him.

    As for the future, it’s really-really dark for Alpine. I bet they’ll finish next year behind Aston Martin and McLaren.

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