Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Ocon regrets being “nice guy” after belatedly obeying order to let Gasly pass

Formula 1

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Esteban Ocon said he was “too nice” in following Alpine’s orders to let his team mate past at the end of the race, though he initially refused to do so.

The Alpine drivers were separated by Daniel Ricciardo until he overtook Ocon with four laps to go as they approached the final corner. That brought Gasly onto Ocon’s tail, and early on the following lap Alpine called for a change of positions between their drivers.

Ocon initially refused to follow the order, telling his race engineer Josh Peckett to “forget it.”

Peckett told Ocon the order had been made to allow Gasly to attack Ricciardo. Ocon asked whether he would be allowed to re-pass Gasly if his team mate was unable to take the place. Peckett told him “that’s what I’m working on.”

A lap after receiving the instruction, Ocon told the team he would let Gasly by, and pulled over at the exit of turn seven. By this time Gasly was two seconds behind Ricciardo and only a lap and a half of the race remained. He was unable to pass the RB, and was not told to give the place back to his team mate.

Ocon, who started 18th following his penalty for colliding with Gasly in Monaco, said he was “not the happiest” about the race.

“Obviously we started last and got into the points with both cars, which is amazing for the team. But I did my part of the job, being a team player, being the nice guy. But too nice, I am.”

He said it had been futile to try to get Gasly ahead of Ricciardo. “We had to let Pierre go at the end, which I’ve done,” said Ocon. “I’ve always followed the instructions that I’ve been given.

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But for no reason, really because we were not going to catch Daniel. That was the reason for the call. And obviously, I’m losing a point there.

“Being too nice is not the right attitude to have in Formula 1 but I showed that I’m a team player, and that’s what matters.”

Alpine announced earlier this week Ocon will leave the team at the end of the year.

Ocon’s messages from the end of the Canadian Grand Prix

Peckett Esteban, we have to let Pierre through, please. Gap behind him two seconds to Hulkenberg.
Ocon What was the reason?
Peckett We need to try and attack Ricciardo.
Ocon Yeah, forget it!
Peckett Okay, that is a request. Got three laps to go.
Ocon Are you giving the place back after or not?
Peckett That’s what I’m working on, stand by.
Ocon Okay, I let him by.
Peckett Understood.
Ocon But make what’s right at the end.
Peckett Watch for Hulkenberg

Ocon let Gasly pass him exiting turn six.

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Peckett Esteban, the cars are not swapping places. Push to the end, please.
Ocon Yeah, amazing. Thank you, amazing. Thank you
Peckett Okay, radio is still latched. Okay mate.
Ocon No comments. Too nice. Too nice
Peckett Okay, listen. We still came 10th. We still got a point, okay? It’s a long way to go yet. Okay, I know, I know, I know. I know it’s frustrating.
Ocon I’ve done what I had to do, which is the most important, but you guys didn’t do what you had to do. That’s it.
Peckett Can we go scenario 10 please Esteban. It will be discussed in a bit. In the meantime normal in-lap procedure.
Ocon De-rating issue was a big problem.
Peckett Yeah it was. I don’t have an answer for why that is.
Peckett What I’ll say is we came P10 and we started right at the back with very little hope of getting anything out of this. And most of that is down to the fact that you drove very well and kept a cool head through difficult conditions. So you should be very pleased with yourself for that. And thank you for doing that as well
Ocon Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, happy to be working with you guys too, Dave and Josh. Very happy.
Ocon Thanks for supporting. Thanks for supporting.
Peckett Sorry mate. Long way to go. Another 16 races.

Gasly’s messages from the end of the Canadian Grand Prix

Howard Esteban been instructed to let you pass. We’ve got two remaining mate. Don’t take it for granted, overtake if you can.
Gasly Ocon lets Gasly pass
What’s the gap with Ricciardo?
Howard Ricciardo is 2.0 ahead.
Howard And we have overtake available eight, 10 and 13.
Howard This is the final lap.
Howard Okay Pierre that’s the chequered flag. That’s P9 for us.
Gasly Good job guys.
Howard So we’re going to have scenario 10. We can stay recharge off.
Gasly Good job it was pretty tricky on the start. Shame about the contact but very well managed on your side to get me back to the front. Pretty tricky with the hard out of the box but gave me some nice racing so good job. Another three points for the team. Very well executed.

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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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34 comments on “Ocon regrets being “nice guy” after belatedly obeying order to let Gasly pass”

  1. You’re not really being a team player if you’re just doing it because you have to for your own individual benefit. Yet making a big show of it, and complaining about it at the same time, it’s pretty funny.

    I do wish F1 wasn’t this “team sport” from the drivers perspective though, when you think about it as far as improving the racing goes that’s just one less competitor for each driver, and the most evenly matched one too. But what can you do when team order seem impossible to prevent anyway…

    1. This backs up my comment when I laughed at Ocon for disingenuously calling F1 “ultimately a team sport” in his statement whining about social media comments and claiming he’s always been a great team player who works well with teammates. He knows it’s not. We all know it’s not. I don’t know if he actually believes he’s always been a great teammate though. Anything is possible.

    2. He really should have said it once and shut up.
      But it’s ok because no prospective team believed he was sincere or is likely to do it again without unemployment looming anyway.

    3. he should have never ceded the position, hes right. Hopefully he remembers that Alpine are only using Ocon in the strictest sense and that he owes that team nothing after it’s behavior following hollywood investors and the like and all the mismanagement and firings and horrible leadership. Famine is there because he can be controlled by investors who need to feel safe about their investment, Ocon needs to realize that those investors are a joke, and keep himself out of the muck and drive completely for himself.

  2. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    9th June 2024, 23:16

    “I’m too nice, I’m a team player, I always follow the instructions!” – says man who earlier refused said instruction.

  3. This ridiculous order never had any chance to work out – Ricciardo jumped whole second in just one sector, and after he built such gap, Ocon was told to let Gasly through.

    With 2 laps to go. At that point Gasly already had 2 seconds to Ricciardo!

    It’s more than obvious they just wanted Gasly to finish ahead, no matter what. It was simply impossible to gain 2 seconds on a single lap, and pass with DRS on the last lap.

    It was all about Gasly finishing in front.

    1. An Sionnach
      10th June 2024, 11:37

      I don’t know why they issued the order. It makes the team look silly, though. Sillier.

    2. Ocon had power issue and when the order came, they was still more than 2 laps. It took a long time for Ocon to obey, leaving Gasly with just 1 lap to go…. not deliberate fron Ocon, of course.

      So yeah…. you may not like team order, and certainly no driver likes them. But the request from the team made sense and was consistent with request from the past when Gasly had to let Ocon pass in the same circumstance (and was not happy about it).

      In the current context, I don’t think it was smart from Ocon to play it that way and it was even more ridiculous to calll himsleft Ze teamplayer after the race. The guy has a serious psychological issue.

  4. Ocon is a muppet. He has good racecraft, but is completely irrational if his teammate is ahead of him or directly behind him. Any team that signs him better get ready for some trashed chassis and a string of DNFs unless his teammate is a no-show.

    1. I have to agree. I saw the whole interview and my conclusion was that he does not belong in any racing car. He does not have the right mental set up and also hasn’t learned anything from the feedback he has gotten so far. Time to part from him.

  5. The team orders call with only 2 laps to go, is just crazy. In a sport where catching is one thing and passing is quite another, expecting a driver to catch 2 secs in 2 laps and pass is just ludicrous. So, of course in an environment where the tensions already running high, Ocon is making a song and dance about it, and its just absolutely driving a wedge within the team between the team wall and Ocon’s side of the garage. Alpine is fast becoming the team no one wants to be involved with and it is just absolutely gutting to see, given the rich heritage of the Enstone outfit.

    1. No, they sacked Ocon because he was always a problem, running into all his teammates and disobeying orders. IMO, this whole situation is 100% his doing, so don’t put this on the team. Alpine doesn’t owe him any fairness, they just preferred Gasly take the better position.

      1. Ocon was about to finish ahead of Gasly despite his 5 place grid penalty. Obviously Alpjne did not want that to happen: Gasly is their new golden boy (despite consistently being slower than Ocon).

        1. yup, French people are like that. Getting them to admit when they are wrong is literally pulling teeth. That’s why Renault suck, and never improved their power unit. No ability for introspection or honesty in the face of adversity, they are definitely not alone though. They did have a great V8 though, but they probably sacked those guys for being too good before the ‘political realignment’ in F1 prior to 2014.

        2. Gasly consistently slower than Ocon…. Except more than half the season last year, and multiple qualy.

          they are both fast and experienced, overall very close in terms of delivering result. Also bot a bit inconsistent at time. But one is a decent teamplayer (ask Yuki). The other is a bit of a basket case who crashes in all his teammate.

          And you wonder why Alpine is now favouring Gasly ?

        3. Both Ocon being a total tool and the order being silly can both be true at the same, which they are. There are almost endless examples of Ocon being a horrible teammate and destructive for team morale let alone unity. He’s a good driver, but not nearly good enough to get away with the crap he pulls.

    1. I’ve always followed the instructions that I’ve been given.

      That part literally made me laugh out loud.

  6. Since the position swap went entirely unseen on the world feed, I thought Gasly had simply passed him on merit, so I was surprised when I found out afterwards that a team order call was involved.
    Normally, positions get swapped again if progress doesn’t happen, but not this time, so probably more about them wanting Gasly to finish ahead anyway.

    1. F1TV missed so many passes and changes of position. It also took them like ten minutes to realize Hamilton had gotten passed Alonso due to a slow pit stop and they never even showed the pit stop.

      1. Indeed, reporters and director missed a lot this race. To much action for them?
        I.e. The several shots of a garage with nothing happening…terrible show.
        But even during quali yesterday they missed the action, did not show laptimes. Shot of a car in its inlap while others are setting fast times. Messy!

        1. The best that can be said is at least they weren’t constantly showing shots of celebrities, but that’s likely because they didn’t have any this weekend. I also hate how their people are all basically PR people for F1 than actual pundits. Palmer is the only one willing to say anything negative about the teams and drivers.

          1. I also hate how their people are all basically PR people for F1

            That’s no doubt part of the contract the TV broadcasters have. They usually skirt around the topic, but a few years ago Brundle was needled enough to spell it out while complaining that Villeneuve should be positive because F1 ‘gave them so much’.

            Tom Clarkson really lays it on thick. Every single guest he has on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast is this amazing guy who has set new standards for excellence and is a huge part of F1 history. It’s all a bit silly, but the conversation they have usually makes up for it.

            I suppose we have to cut these guys some slack; we all make some compromises for our jobs.

          2. Fair enough. I remember when Brundle was constantly giving F1 a bruising, especially when they switched to this new no wet racing, SC/RF for any car pulled off the track, etc. and then he seemed to completely cave and no longer ever says a peep about it. Guess he needs to ensure his son’s job is safe.

  7. Unless there has been a switch earlier on in the race, such a pointless late-race change only makes sense if one of the drivers is in title contention. As it is, it achieved nothing and just made everyone involved look silly.

    It’s incredible how these teams spend millions on managers and can’t handle a two-men line-up without constantly having these kind of shenanigans. It’s not like other sports aren’t similarly – or even more – competitive, and they handle teams with ten and even twenty+ athletes.

  8. The team order’s justification of maximising the team’s result made no sense – in fact it held a much greater risk of worsening the result, as Hulkenberg was only about 0.5 seconds behind the pair of them, so it could have easily resulted in a 9th and 11th finish instead.
    I think in reality it was instead to cheer up Gasly a bit, as he has justifiably felt aggrieved at too many previous team orders instead going Ocon’s way.

  9. I wonder if Ocon was just his usual self when he said “forget it”
    But then he remembered that he hasn’t signed for a team next season yet and realised he had better try to look like a team player for once?

  10. Lyle Clarke
    10th June 2024, 12:12

    This is wild, what team would want him now? Any team that signs him isn’t serious enough.

    1. Lyle,. Only one person you are totally correct: each quote here has good detail and excellent thinking. Here, in thr USA, we really flopped on the last 5 minutes terribly. The engineers,drivers,and spectators had a great track, and a good race. I cannot Ocon is so damaged.

      Reply moderated
  11. You call this actively disengaged. People you should fire if you want to maintain some sort of team spirit.

  12. The only thing in common in all previous Ocon’s clashes with teammates is – O’connor himself. And he made a mess no matter who was the other driver. Perez called him unintelligent, and that explains it the best. His driving and his reactions prove it. He’s got talent, but not as much as he thinks. It’s the worst thing, arrogance without any basis. I’d never hire this guy, and I’m amazed that someone (Audi?) is going to.
    He’s dull headed, has bad manners and couldn’t care less about his team(s). And he doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he repeats them every single season. I’d rather hire Stroll… At least he’s quieter.

    1. Lol O’connor. I should turn this autocorrect off.

  13. The hatred of Ocon by the public since Brazil 2018 is frankly one of the most bizarre collective delusions I’ve seen across any topic in my entire life.

    Reply moderated
    1. You’re adorable.

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