Pierre Gasly makes a pit stop, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2023

“It should not happen”: Gasly wants explanation for Ocon’s strategy advantage

Formula 1

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Pierre Gasly expects his Alpine to explain why they gave a preferential strategy to their other car when it was running behind him.

The two Alpines were running fifth and eighth on lap 15, Gasly ahead of Esteban Ocon, when their race took a decisive turn. Gasly picked up diffuser damage after being hit from behind by Lewis Hamilton, and Alpine pitted Ocon.

As Ocon was the first of Alpine’s drivers to pit, he stood to benefit compared to Gasly by running on fresher tyres first. Gasly came in two laps out of his team mate and was infuriated to discover Ocon had got ahead of him through the pit stops.

“What the fuck are we doing?” he asked race engineer John Howard. “I’m 1.5 seconds slower, I don’t have tyres!”

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2023
Gasly ran ahead of his team mate early in the race
Later in the lap Howard asked for an update on his front wing. “The fucking tyre’s gone,” Gasly replied. “You’re ruining my race, for fuck’s sake!”

Alpine pitted him at the end of the lap, and when he found out he had lost a position to his team mate by prolonging his first stint he said to Howard “you must be kidding me”. Gasly was told to keep his head down, but he made his dissatisfaction clear.

“I don’t get how you can undercut me with the other car,” Gasly remarked later in the lap. “I really seriously don’t understand. You’ll have to explain [to] me.”

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Howard told Gasly he had the benefit of fresher tyres than some of the cars he was set to be fighting for position with, but the driver was not satisfied.

“Two laps,” said Gasly. “Two fucking laps. Anyway, don’t talk to me and let me drive.”

On lap 30 of 58 he brought up the topic again, telling the team: “I don’t get why you gave him my position.”

After the race, Gasly blamed three things for the undoing of his race: The contact with Hamilton, “these guys finishing me a couple of laps later” by not responding to his pit stop request, and Ocon pitting before him.

“It should not happen,” he said of the latter. “The leading car always has the priority, and we know it should not happen. So I’m sure we’ll learn from it and I’m sure it won’t happen again.”

Having admitted “I don’t know” why Alpine chose that strategy, Gasly said he expects to get answers post-season back at base.

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“I think the main conversation is to happen in the office, and I’m sure we’ll have it. It should not have happened.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2023
Ocon “doesn’t care” about the team’s strategy decision
Gasly went into the race 11th in the championship, four points ahead of Ocon. Their positions were unchanged by the final round as neither scored, Ocon finishing the race 12th ahead of Gasly.

Ocon’s radio messages did not indicate he had asked the team to pit him before Gasly. He was told to make his first pit stop as he approached the penultimate corner and the pit lane entrance.

Asked by RaceFans about his team mate’s frustration with Alpine’s strategy, Ocon said: “Honestly I don’t care.”

“What is more important is for us to be understanding what has been happening this season,” he continued. “Quite a lot of ups and downs in terms of performance, level of pace. Today we were not quick enough, unfortunately, to get into the top 10 and to score points.”

Gasly was unhappy with his strategy a week earlier in Las Vegas, where he complained the team failed to take advantage of a Safety Car period to put him in fresh tyres, following which he slipped out of the points. Five races before that, Gasly was ordered to let Ocon pass him on the final lap of the race, a decision he also criticised.

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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...
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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7 comments on ““It should not happen”: Gasly wants explanation for Ocon’s strategy advantage”

  1. Gasly is stuck with a toxic team and toxic team-mate. These Alpine guys lost Alonso and Piastri for stupid Ocon. That was really pathetic team management and seriously shows their lack of vision. Alonso + Piastri and they had a current champion material plus a future champion material. That combination was no less than Ham + Rus.
    Ocon is toxic. I hope he somehow comes to RedBull and then Max teaches him a lession. He should know his place. He still believes that he is better than Alonso. He even said that he lost seat to Perez as Perez had better contacts and not because his scored lower points.

    1. This team is certainly somewhat adrift in how they manage stuff, but really instead of focussing on this kind of minor things, I actuallly give Ocon credit for looking at the more important bits – why didn’t they get any consistency and failed to score so often.

      Ocon has actually shown some decent race results this year where Gasly has too often been ranting about feeling he’s treated unfair.

    2. I honestly find it funny that the guy being silent is called toxic, instead of the guy who keeps complaining, screaming and insulting his own team.

      And it’s not the first time. He also kept insisting that Alpine sabotaged him in Las Vegas, despite team being unable to actually box him – he either would rejoin behind Ricciardo (P17) with just a few laps of tyre age advantage (on low deg track), or behind Ricciardo (P16) with just a few laps to make up places, big time difference to points scoring positions, and significant tyre age advantage. He simply doesn’t understand that the team was trying to hold the position, as it was their best chance given the circumstances – and he caused problems with not being able to care about his tyres as good as Ocon, who had only 3 laps less in his tyres.

      Wonder why Gasly doesn’t complain about Australia or Netherlands, when team split the strategy significantly, but he got the better end of that deal.

  2. Next season on Drive to Survive Alpine the French Civil War.

    I find it interesting that Alpine managed to get rid of Alonso and Piastri and now Gasly is having issues while everything seems to be going really swell for Ocon.

    1. Agree… it just goes to show the level of daftness in Alpine’s management.
      They’ve had Alonso in their lineup, who is no doubt the best driver to have ever driven for their squad, as well as Piastri in their stable, who is the best rookie they’ve ever managed to get in their driver program…. yet they favour Ocon, who has been beaten by every driver he’s been paired up against – Perez, Ricciardo, Alonso and now Gasly. Ocon is hands down the most toxic teammate on the grid, and a driver every top team would stay away from, but Alpine believe he’s the right fit for them.

  3. As far as I can tell, this happens everytime Renault are involved in Motorsport. Internal bickering ruining any chance they have.
    It’s not the personnel, as that’s different each time – it must be company culture and the way that filters down through team management to the staff.

  4. Gasly already had a broken car that was slower than his team mate. The swap was logical, but was telling that they wouldn’t just tell him why.

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