F1 strugglers admit ‘quite a high risk’ in 2024 silly season with drivers out of contract

Henry Valantine
The Alpine drivers in Bahrain.

Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly on track during the team's disappointing start to the season in Bahrain

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin has confirmed he has opened talks with both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, but admitted there is “quite a high risk” during the 2024 contract market.

Alpine have started the 2024 season towards the back of the field and have both of their drivers out of contract at the end of the year as it stands, but with over half the field currently uncontracted beyond the end of the season, there are plenty of seats available if they choose to move elsewhere.

Alpine open talks with both drivers as ‘the season may be silly’

The latest piece of the 2025 driver market puzzle fell into place when Fernando Alonso committed his future to Aston Martin until 2026, shutting at least one door to any potential suitors for that seat next season.

Ocon continues to be on Mercedes’ books as a listed junior driver, the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner confirming recently the team still looks after his interests from afar, meaning he may be a candidate to replace Lewis Hamilton next season at the Silver Arrows.

Famin confirmed Alpine have opened talks with both Ocon and Gasly about extending their stay with Alpine beyond the end of this season, but given the open situation on the driver market as it stands, the team principal said they need to be “prepared for everything”.

“Right now, we are happy with our drivers,” Famin told F1 TV in Japan.

“We have two good drivers with a good mindset, good attitude, but we know that the season may be silly, who knows? Let’s see.

“[There is] quite a high risk of a silly season and we need to be prepared for everything.

“We have started to talk with both of them and we need to find agreements for sure, and to see what’s happened on the market.”

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Alpine endured a tough start to the year in pre-season testing, but their worst worries were confirmed in Bahrain when they appeared to have the slowest package of anyone.

While they have made improvements, Famin spoke of his happiness at how the team’s factory staff have reacted to their current position.

“Unfortunately, it’s not a big surprise,” he said of the team’s pace.

“Of course, I think when we presented the car we were very cautious because we feel that the first races would be quite difficult and, unfortunately, they had been, but being on the last row in Bahrain of the grid will have been a shock for everybody, to be frank and transparent.

“But it is the evidence that we needed to change our way, our approach, our organisation, to make it more agile, more efficient, and this is what we are doing with the changes we have made, especially in Enstone, and we are on it.

“But I’m quite happy with the reaction of the staff at the factory, everybody understood we had to change and everybody now is pushing for the changes and I really expect everybody to push hard, of course, in developing that car but also in improving our organisation, our processes, for the future projects.”

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