Race start, Circuit of the Americas, 2023

Ocon: ‘Nothing I would change’ in approach to race-ending clash with Piastri

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by and

Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri’s races ended due to an opening-lap clash in the United States Grand Prix. While neither blamed the other, the Alpine driver said he wouldn’t have approached the situation any differently.

The pair made side-to-side contact exiting turn two at the Circuit of the Americas. Alpine driver Ocon was out of the race on lap six, and McLaren’s Piastri held sixth place until his retirement on lap ten.

“In the end we both touched and we paid the price,” said Ocon. “We both had to retire the car. Unfortunately my whole sidepod was damaged, which is a big shame because I think we could have scored points today.”

Ocon gave his side of the collision between the pair. “I had a good launch, I was on the inside, I just took the corner.

“Obviously Oscar then tried to go around the outside and that was it. We touched. There was nothing that if I had to do again, that I would really change.”

The floor damage to Ocon’s Alpine “was too severe to continue,” he said. “It’s been a very unfortunate Sunday for us. It feels like there’s been quite a few of those this year, which has really cost us.”

McLaren said a water leak that caused Piastri’s eventual retirement. “There was fluid all down the right sidepod and that’s where the contact was,” he said.

Piastri did not blame Ocon for the contact. “I didn’t really think anything of it, to be honest,” he said.

“I felt like I definitely had the right to be there. I don’t think Esteban did anything untoward. Just we met and unfortunately it’s caused damage for both of us. Just one of those incidents.”

Alpine’s interim team principal Bruno Famin was disappointed the team failed to score with both its cars in Austin.

“Overall it’s been a mixed Sunday for the team with Pierre in the points and Esteban unfortunately retiring from the race and therefore unable to show his potential,” he said. “The car has been competitive – enough to compete for points on both days – so it is frustrating not to have both drivers in the fight for the top ten.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 United States Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 United States Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

13 comments on “Ocon: ‘Nothing I would change’ in approach to race-ending clash with Piastri”

  1. Ocon being Ocon. Fighting his team mate hard and allowing others to go by.

    1. He’s a little rat, but a rat that does have his priorities straight in a very unsympathetic way… teammate is the only one you should consistently beat, everything else can be blamed on the car.

    2. You do know that it was Gasly who compromised their line into Turn 1, by pushing Ocon close to the inside, and allowed Piastri to slip into the inside, when they inevitably had to go wider line into that corner? Did you even see that?

  2. Right attitude in a mere racing incident situation.

  3. And the moral of the story is: qualify high up the grid or you will have a race ending shunt with Ocon.

  4. There was nothing that if I had to do again, that I would really change.

    There’s an old racing adage: To finish First, first you have to finish. The point here isn’t about finishing First, it is about crossing the Finishing Line: Esteban didn’t finish this race and currently is leading all the other drivers in races not finished. An essential part of a professional drivers job is to complete the task assigned to them. So for a professional racing car driver leaving a Grand prix or race with reasonable results and hopefully points is essential because that is how they earn money. Your employer isn’t a charity, they earn money from your driving – they need to earn more from your driving than what it costs them to let you drive for them. If they can’t make a profit from your driving then they will get someone else. Esteban has more retirements than any other driver on the grid – 6. That’s 6 points scoring opportunities he missed out on, points which he has given to other drivers and teams. Just ahead of him in the WDC points table are Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll. It is reasonable to believe he could be ahead of them if he’d played his cards differently. I assume he is happy with being 12th in the World Drivers’ Championship Table and not 10th, and happy that Pierre is the top points earning driver at Alpine. Unfortunately his inability to change and frequent handing points and prestige to other drivers won’t have escaped his manager. Esteban needs to change his driving style while he still has a choice about the matter.

  5. Esteban Ocon belongs in a demolition derby, not in F1

  6. And that attitude is why he continues to have similar accidents far too frequently.

  7. Kind of says all you need to know and why he’ll never be a top tier driver.

    1. @slowmo do you recall when Max had race after race of on-track tangles with other cars to the point where he got angry at the media for asking him questions about his driving and threatened to “headbutt someone” (Canada 2018)?

      1. Ocon is in his 8th season of F1 though. And I also felt at the time Max was having to push through the polite style of processional race unfoldings we and the F1 drivers had gotten used to, due to the dominance of Mercedes and the four years Vettel preceding that. He brought back a lot of the fighting spirit F1 had lost and was perceived wrong while he actually brought the essence of racing back in the game and raised the overall level. He also made mistakes, don’t get me wrong (as all ‘later to be greats’ have done in their first years), it was a bit of a mix.

        1. Ocon is in his 8th season of F1 though.

          You are arguing that there is a limit to the number of seasons raced in F1 to have racing incidents? OK I guess you will be proven wrong the next time Max, Lewis, or Alonso are involved in a racing incident…

          He brought back a lot of the fighting spirit F1 had lost and was perceived wrong while he actually brought the essence of racing back

          So, Max was “fighting” and bringing the “essence of racing” back so drivers like Ocon can emulate him and get chastised for their driving?

  8. Although it was deemed a racing incident, if you see the onboard footage of Ocon, you can see that Oscar had made a move round the outside, with two wheels deep on the kerbs. The only logical next step was Oscar getting back on the track for the next corner, as there was no where else to go. Esteban still chose to keep his line, since he was in the “right” … and as a result they made contact. It was an avoidable racing incident if you asked me, it just required a less stubborn and daft character to comply.

    Someone needs to inform Esteban that Piastri isn’t his teammate… and there’s no need to race him that hard. Esteban maybe a midfield talent.. but his attitude towards racing is beyond backmarker.

Comments are closed.