What should Alpine do after the clash between Ocon and Gasly?

There has been fire in the Alpine house since the Monaco Grand Prix, where the collision between Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly on the first lap provoked the wrath of Bruno Famin. Already sanctioned by the commissioners, the first city found itself publicly singled out by its boss, who promised to “to cut to the chase”. According to our information, on Monday all options were on the table. What should the French team do? We asked the question within our editorial team.

“Two highly incompatible drivers”

Basile Davoine (Motorsport.com France)

The clash between the two Alpines in Monaco takes on exaggerated proportions. This escalation is probably explained by two elements, the main one being the internal situation which has probably never – or very rarely – been good between Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, and which has become more tense in recent weeks. The other is undoubtedly the live, on-the-spot interview given by Bruno Famin at the Canal+ microphone, which clearly ignited the powder.

The boss of Alpine would undoubtedly have been better inspired by showing, of course, understandable anger at the sight of this collision, but without immediately taking sides between his two drivers and suggesting that the consequences would be serious. At that moment, he had not yet spoken with Esteban Ocon. What he could not master, however, was that the very French expression “to cut to the chase” would give rise to extrapolations because it is impossible to translate as is into English.

With a rather cold and analytical character, Bruno Famin was perhaps overwhelmed by his emotions. However, we cannot exclude a deliberate choice to communicate in this way, in a context where the subject of drivers appears thorny at Alpine. The way in which he has displayed for several weeks a simple satisfaction at having this duo without pressing or asserting a desire to extend the contract which is coming to an end for the two men says a lot of things.

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Esteban Ocon seems to be in the eye of the storm…

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Coming back to the specific case of Esteban Ocon, there is no doubt that his attack on the Porter was rather unwelcome. The scales tipped against him, but we could also have experienced the opposite in Miami when Pierre Gasly was extremely aggressive throughout the first round. There is no doubt that the subject can be resolved with an explanation of internal text, possible sanctions or threats of sanctions, and the formal prohibition of seeing such a scenario recur.

Going further, for example by banning Esteban Ocon, would appear disproportionate, moreover towards a driver who has always been exemplary in carrying out the project and remains to this day the only one to have led it to victory. And then, such a radical decision would probably create even more uproar for a team which clearly does not need it in an already difficult period…

On the other hand, there is no doubt that the common future between Esteban Ocon and Alpine is dotted after 2024, but it was an already clear trend before this episode. The biggest mistake, ultimately, is undoubtedly having associated two highly incompatible drivers. But Bruno Famin can once again put this down to his predecessors.

“This is not good management”

Oleg Karpov (GP Racing)

Le Portier is not the ideal place to launch an attack (ask Jenson Button and Pascal Wehrlein), especially when the car you are trying to overtake is the same color. However, I have the impression that Esteban Ocon is a bit of a scapegoat.

The team is having a difficult start to the season, and it’s easy to vent the frustration by blaming the driver for his mistake. Certainly, he shouldn’t have done what he did, but I think it’s important to remember that Esteban has shown remarkable team spirit this year. He hasn’t shown the slightest sign of annoyance in front of the press, despite the fact that this same team has let him (and his teammate) down by providing a car that doesn’t match his talent. Outwardly, in any case, he showed nothing but support. His only speech was that he believed in the team and saw positive changes. But it looks like the team was happy to put the blame on him whenever the opportunity presented itself.

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The first round was heated between Ocon and Gasly.

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The interview with Bruno Famin on Canal+ could have been very different. He could have said that he would resolve the matter internally, that he must first speak to the two pilots before speaking publicly. But he placed Esteban in an embarrassing position when he discovered his boss’s speech via the television crews. For me, this is not good management. Also because this incident had been brewing for some time.

From the outside, it seems that the tension between the two drivers has been growing since the start of the year. This is somewhat understandable, as both are out of contract and likely looking to continue their careers elsewhere, with Alpine having done little to convince them that it was the ideal team for them. ‘future. It is therefore natural that they try to surpass themselves to show themselves to the other teams.

What happened in Monaco practically began in Miami, when Pierre Gasly muscled his way past his teammate, in a narrow section, and knowing that whoever would be in front of the other at the end of the first round would benefit from the best strategy. In China, Pierre did not hesitate to point out the difference between Esteban’s advanced single-seater (he was logically the first because he was the fastest then) and his own, giving the feeling that he was not not happy with the team’s decision. It was extremely embarrassing to have two drivers from the same team saying completely different things about the value of the new package. And that also applies to leaders…

Ocon defended himself in Miami, but he left his teammate a lot of space. We do not know how the situation was handled within the team, however it is clear that it was not enough to make the two drivers understand that it should not happen again. In any incident, it takes two cars to collide, and part of the responsibility, even if it is only minimal, must also fall on Gasly. But blaming the responsibility and frustration for a difficult season on a man who was a pillar of the team, and who made a mistake, is simply an admission of weakness on the part of the team.

“It would be shooting yourself in the foot.”

Jonathan Noble (Motorsport.com)

Alpine boss Bruno Famin does not hide his anger after what happened at the Monaco Grand Prix. His team is well aware that opportunities to score points will be rare this year and that there can be no excuse in the event of a collision between its two drivers.

From what I understand, all options are on the table, including the incredible possibility of sidelining Esteban Ocon for the Canadian Grand Prix, in order to make him understand how serious the situation is. To me, though, that would be shooting Alpine in the foot. Losing a driver of Ocon’s talent, who has the means to shine when the opportunity arises, would be a step backwards.

type="image/webp"> type="image/jpeg">Can Esteban Ocon lose his steering wheel?>>

Can Esteban Ocon lose his steering wheel?

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Alpine should instead follow the path chosen in 2016 by Toto Wolff at Mercedes, when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg kept clashing. Explicit rules must be established, defining when overtaking is authorized or not, and who will be considered at fault in the event of a collision. We have to do like Mercedes, draw up diagrams so that Ocon and Gasly know what they can and cannot do.

Then, it must be made clear that any violation will result in immediate suspension. No ifs, no buts: if the pilots don’t listen after this, then they will only have themselves to blame for finding themselves on the sidelines, because it will be clear that they have placed their interests above those on the team, which should never be tolerated.

“A political decision rather than a sporting one”

Roberto Chinchero (Motorsport.com Italy)

I think there is one essential thing to keep in mind when looking at recent events at Alpine. It’s a Formula 1 team, of course, but it’s also a team that represents a major manufacturer. It is a promotional tool for the brand, and all major decisions should be viewed with this perspective.

What happened last Sunday is unacceptable for a team, it should not happen. But we have seen it in the past, and we will see it again in the future. In Alpine’s case, it was a particularly painful moment. With the team going through a difficult period, this only makes things worse, especially since it happened on the first lap of the race, when Alpine could score points. Hence the reaction of management: it was not the right time for something like this to happen.

type="image/webp"> type="image/jpeg">Esteban Ocon leaving whatever happens?>>

Esteban Ocon leaving whatever happens?

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

With all this in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruno Famin sidelined Esteban during a Grand Prix, but in my opinion it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. If this were to happen, I would see it as a political decision rather than a sporting one, as I doubt Alpine would have any interest in replacing Ocon with another currently available driver. From a sporting point of view, depriving yourself of Esteban would be pointless.

What is needed is a serious discussion, not just with Esteban but with both drivers. Perhaps financial sanctions should be imposed and they should be made aware of the consequences if this happens again, but anything beyond that would be considered an overreaction, perhaps even influenced by transfer market rumors, notably those concerning Ocon, who has already made the decision to leave the team.

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