Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, two 26-year-old French drivers, have never had a joint accident in Formula 1. That hasn’t stopped their rivalry from being tense as they progressed, young, towards the Grand Circus; and that their joint presence in Alpine has become one of the talks of the paddock. Some close to the Enstone team they joke with the baton of their first incident in 2023. But the two protagonists take their new partnership very seriously to keep the A523 in the top-4 of the World Championship and aim for podiums throughout the course.
How to improve a 2022? Reply Or with: “The podium was close, we were fourth in Japan. In 2021 the car was worse and we won a race. As a goal, it seems that we want to be fourth again but the disadvantage with third is huge. We are ambitious and it is what we want to achieve, in F1 anything can happen”.
The Ocon-Gasly relationship already makes headlines because when they were young, it is said that their families were at odds. “You love it,” Esteban jokes, “but there is no story”. “We will never be best friends, but the important thing is that we move forward together and create discussion and solutions within the team. That’s the way the engine is,” she says. Regarding the differences between Pierre and Alonso, his previous partner: “We’ve only just begun and I continue working with my team of people. In the simulator there are no changes, I focus on myself”.
To the other side, Gasly talks about “a huge change” in his career and in his life. “Working with a manufacturer has potential compared to what he had seen before,” she illustrates. He does not feel the pressure to get into the car that belonged to Alonso: “Look at his career, I can only look at myself. I want to win races and be world champion with Alpine, that’s what I focus on. The team learned a lot with Fernando, it’s good. But we look to the future.”
If Pierre notices the advantage of joining a first team instead of a second like Alpha Tauri: I am very competitive and I want us to maintain the good trend so that we get closer to the top-3″. The relationship with Esteban? “It goes very well, we have talked more in the last few months than in ten years. It was very important, I’m happy with how things are going with Ocon. We are mature and responsible, we represent a team like Alpine and Renault. I do not have doubts. We will be able to work together and take the team further.”