Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Ocon pips Alonso in close fight swung by Alpine unreliability

2022 F1 team mate battles: Ocon vs Alonso

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Last year Fernando Alonso out-scored Esteban Ocon by just seven points over the course of the season. It was the closest contest between any pair of team mates on the grid: They finished ahead of each other in qualifying and the races an equal number of times over 2021.

This year Ocon prevailed over Alonso, albeit still narrowly. Once again, when both Alpine drivers saw the chequered flag it was a toss-up which one came home first. Their poor finishing rate was part of the story, however: Ocon ended the season 11 points to the good over his team mate, but Alonso had good reason to feel hard done by.

He wasn’t shy about making his feelings known, either, repeatedly listing the failures suffered by his car. He retired due to technical problems in Jeddah, Monza, Singapore, Mexico City and Yas Marina. To those misfortunes we can add Imola, where Mick Schumacher spun into his car and badly damaged it. Alonso was also unable to start the sprint race in Austria due to technical problems and was pitched off the track by a hydraulic fault in qualifying at Melbourne.

“I had my issues too,” noted Ocon when his team mate’s account of his luckless season was put to him. That was certainly true – Ocon’s car broke down during the British and Singapore grands prix – but it would be inaccurate to suggest his problems were as frequent and costly as his team mate’s.

Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
The Alpine duo fought hard in Jeddah
The on-track contest between the pair was spirited at times, notably in Jeddah, where the (temporarily pink) Alpine cars put on a terrific scrap. By the other end of the season, in Brazil, things got rather too heated, Alonso collecting a penalty after his determined efforts to pass Ocon at the start of the sprint race left both with damage cars, prompting a public ear-bashing from team principal Otmar Szafnauer. They saved the next day with a useful incursion into the points in the grand prix, which ensured Alpine ended the year ahead of McLaren in the constructors championship.

Despite that improved result by the team there was no repeat of last year’s shock win for either driver, or even a podium finish. Though when a strong result was there to be had, Alonso was the one who threatened to deliver it. His car failure in Australia thwarted a bid for a front-running grid position. He delivered one in Canada, where he shared the front row with Max Verstappen.

But there too he suffered an engine problem which eventually dropped him to ninth at the chequered flag behind his team mate. If there was one race in 2022 which summed up the season at Alpine, it was that.

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Unrepresentative comparisons omitted. Negative value: Ocon was faster; Positive value: Alonso was faster

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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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22 comments on “Ocon pips Alonso in close fight swung by Alpine unreliability”

  1. Im not a massive fan of either driver, but the stats tell me the opposite of what the article try to point out. 8-8 in finishes, but Alonso had an advantage in both led laps and in qualy.

    1. It’s way more than that. Jolyon Palmer and F1 did an end of season review, which shows Alonso was well ahead in every metric that matter except points because he had more retirements than anyone else in F1 AND every single retirement came WHEN HE WAS IN THE POINTS. And that data point doesn’t even count the Austrian sprint race where he was going to start from 4th I believe. Anyway, here’s the data, not sure how anyone could depict this as Ocon “pips” Alonso. You had to not have been paying attention.

      Here’s the critical data and laid out much intuitively:


      1. Indeed, it’s very strange, because it was very visible across the year, these authors normally notice stuff happening in the midfield\among backmarkers more than some of us do, so it’s surprising to not notice how alonso outperformed ocon. I mean, there’s some acknowledgement of the bad luck difference in the article but not much.

  2. Considering the amount of problems he had, it’s a wonder Alonso only finished at an 11-point deficit to Ocon.

    Clearly a case of the stats giving the entirely wrong impression.

  3. Must have been a maximum of 3 to 4 race weekends in the entire year where Ocon looked like a match for Alonso. Ocon fared decently in qualifying, but on raceday he was never a match for Alonso. Just goes to show unreliability and poor strategy by the team can really skew the stats.

    Ocon can tap himself on the back though… he was lucky to have appeared respectable this season.

    1. Quite right:

      Alonso, Hamilton, Max, Charles, Lando, Albon, Vettel – clearly the better drivers in there team, no matter what the stats say.

      1. Some of those there’s no debate, like leclerc or verstappen, unless you’re talking about 2021, in that case leclerc was rightly ranked ahead of sainz despite getting less points; I think the most controversial is hamilton vs russell: hamilton was allegedly testing new parts early on, which set him back, then started generally outperforming russell, who was luckier with VSC and other occurances and managed to stay ahead in points, for this season I would consider them evenly matched keeping this in mind, and reserve judgement next season, since I think it’s unlikely the “testing parts” excuse will be there again.

    2. A reasonably balanced comment about Esteban Ocon: hats off @todfod!

    3. Any non-partisan fan knows Alonso would have humiliated Ocon if he wouldn’t have had all the issues.

      To show what an amazing year Alonso had, he had the second highest number of overtakes. He had 54 and Hamilton had 56.

      To think he had four DNF’s and all the other issues, he would’ve been far ahead of Hamilton.

      And to think his detractors think he should quit and let a youngster take his seat. LOL. The entitled generation,

      I’m beginning to think what Prost said is true. He is the most complete driver on the grid.

  4. Ocon knows that the faster driver left the team. The stats make it even worse than what I had initially thought. Gasly is French and a very capable driver capable of pulling out a podium or a win in the right circumstances so Ocon will be pushed out of his comfort zone and will watch how, given his history with teammates, he reacts.
    Alonso was mostly so far ahead that it wasn’t possible to clash because he was busy fighting Vettel, the Mclarens, Alpha Tauris and occasionally Hamilton
    We’ll see with Gasly who is closer to Ocon

  5. [Alonso] retired due to technical problems in Jeddah, Monza, Singapore, Mexico City and Yas Marina. To those misfortunes we can add Imola, where Mick Schumacher spun into his car and badly damaged it.

    He also took damage from the lap 1 shunt at Spa, although arguably he wouldn’t have done any better than his eventual fifth place even if he’d been unscathed.

  6. Points scored in races when both Alpines finished: 71-71.

    1. There’s a reason for the saying, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics” when stats are used without closer examination. Revealing what the score is in races when both finished still inaccurately skews the picture in Ocon’s favor.

      1. Stats that suits your case are good, stats that are against your theory is bad. Funny.

  7. Was expecting the title of this article to be,
    “Did Ocon deserve to out-score Alonso? Perhaps not – but it was close.”

  8. Average points per race finish for Alonso is 5.1. For Ocon 4.5.

    1. That also gives a clear idea of the situation.

  9. The current F1 points scoring system rewards reliability rather than excellence. Imagine if you have two drivers, A and B, they might be team mates in a dominant car, and imagine if these were the results in a four-race season, using the current points scoring system:

    A = DNF 1st 1st 1st = 75pts
    B = 1st 2nd 2nd 2nd = 79pts

    It would seem crazy that you could win three of the four races and still not be in the lead, due to a mechanical failure or someone running into you during a race. I agree those numbers are contrived, an extreme example, but it shows the impact an extra DNF has at the top of the field in a closely fought season.

  10. I’ve read a couple of days ago a comment from Ocon where he explains that he did all the work in the simulator this year, which took away his focus, and how it was difficult for him to get ready for race weekends because of that.

    Well, could someone remind Ocon that Alonso participated in two FIA championships in 2018? Also, I remember that year Alonso had like 7 weekends straight on the race track, be it an F1 race, a test session for WEC or a race for WEC. And Alonso beat soundly Stoffel Vandoorne that year.

    To sum up, Ocon should be out of F1.

  11. I felt Alonso had Ocon covered for the majority of the season. Ocon had good results in Austria, where unreliability hurt Alonso, and Japan were a solid Q3 lap after trailing in Q1 and Q2 gave him a favourable strategy in a shortened race. All the other special moments came from the other side of the garage.

    Alonso has often been criticised for his qualifying performance but offered incredible showings in Canada and Australia and was in Q3 18 times to Ocon’s 11 – the most outside the top 3 teams.

    Ocon had a strong start to the year points wise but he should be worried by his performance from Monaco onwards; his midseason was poor especially for someone expected to lead the team next year.

    Social media was awash with stories of Ocon replacing Bottas at Mercedes in 2019, a reaction I felt was premature. Following a humbling from Ricciardo and a solid defeat to a 40yo he’ll have to convincingly beat Gasly to stay on the grid after next season – DR3 is testament to how quickly things can change.

    1. I’m expecting he could be evenly matched with gasly, just like his overall time with perez, if so that will cement his place in the midfield, since to get a chance at a top team you need to show you’re significantly better than your direct competitors.

  12. Don’t get the Alonso hype tbh. He did a worse job against Ocon than Ricciardo. Not sure being better than Ocon makes you a top driver. The consistency he used to have is lacking. Although there is still some high peaks. Just like Vettel actually.

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