Pierre Gasly praises ‘professional’ relationship with Esteban Ocon at Alpine

It has been a tumultuous few weeks for Alpine.

The Formula 1 team secured their second point of the season in the Monaco Grand Prix, as Pierre Gasly held on down the stretch to finish tenth and bring home his first point of the campaign. But the discussion in the hours after the checkered flag flew focused on an opening-lap incident between Gasly and teammate Esteban Ocon, who attempted an overtake of his teammate early in the race. That attempt led to a collision between the two, a damaged floor to Ocon’s A524, and a retirement for Ocon as well.

Team Principal Bruno Famin, speaking immediately after the incident to CANAL+, noted there would be “consequences” for Ocon, sparking speculation of a benching for the driver at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. While Ocon will be back in the A524 this weekend — albeit starting with FP2 as reserve driver Jack Doohan will be driving his car during FP1 — the team and Ocon announced earlier this week that they would be “parting ways” at the end of the season.

Thursday in the FIA Press Conference ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, it was Gasly’s turn to speak, and he was asked about his relationship with Ocon.

Gasly offered kind words about his teammate, and their relationship at Alpine.

“It’s a long story between Esteban and myself,” started Gasly. “And I think so far in the last year and a half, we managed to work and co-operate very professionally. So I think this is important to mention.

“It hasn’t always been easy, as you would imagine from two very competitive drivers. But yeah, considering the story between us, I think it’s been It’s been good.”

That “story” mentioned by Gasly refers to their younger days. Much was made of the pairing between Gasly and Ocon, when it was announced ahead of the 2023 season. The two drivers grew up together and were once very close, but the relationship cooled as they worked up through the competitive ranks.

Later in the press conference, Gasly was asked about directives to the teammates. Following the opening-lap incident in Monaco, much was said and written about Ocon possibly ignoring team orders on the first lap. According to F1 analyst Lawrence Barretto, “Ocon and Pierre Gasly were told before qualifying in Monaco that team orders would be in use in the Grand Prix and that it was a requirement of the driver behind on the grid to support the driver ahead.”

That did not happen.

Thursday in Montreal Gasly was asked if further directives had come from the team in the wake of the incident in Monaco.

After noting the directive in place last time out, Gasly made it clear that going forward, there should not be problems.

“Well, I think the directives were pretty clear in Monaco. Unfortunately, it’s not what happened on track,” stated Gasly. “But yeah, I’m pretty confident that moving forward, we won’t face any issues.”

Gasly was also asked about his own F1 future, as like Ocon he is driving for Alpine on a contract that expires at the end of the season. The driver demurred when it came to speaking about his own future, noting that “ … for my future at the moment, I have nothing really to announce. And then, you guys will know in due time.”

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