Esteban Ocon has given another indication of how his Alpine relationship with Fernando Alonso deteriorated – by saying he was left “overworked”.
What the Frenchman was inferring was that Alonso did not pull his weight with team duties towards the end of his two years there, leaving Ocon to take up the slack.
The Alpine duo enjoyed a harmonious relationship certainly in their first season, each highlighting the teamwork involved as Ocon won a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix helped by some stubborn defensive driving from Alonso to hold up the fast-closing Lewis Hamilton.
But, not for the first time in Alonso’s career, tension developed and the two drivers were rebuked by their team bosses Otmar Szafnauer and Laurent Rossi after colliding during the sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Aston Martin-bound Alonso said after the incident “it has been a little bit like this [with Ocon] all year long” and that “one more race and it’s over, finally” while also referring to his colleague sarcastically as “our friend”.
Ocon responded by saying there had been “no need” for some of the double former World Champion’s remarks – and has now gone further by claiming Alonso had left him to shoulder more than his share of the drivers’ responsibilities within the team.
“Of course I was disappointed by what he said in the press and not internally,” said Ocon during an interview with Ouest France. “We didn’t have any discussions about it.
“I will keep the respect I have for him. It’s good that he’s going to Aston Martin and that we are going our separate ways.
“Honestly, the work was 98% on my back and 2% on his. I was overworked. I was doing all the development in the simulator, the marketing trips…”
Unlike in the previous two seasons, Ocon did not achieve a podium finish in 2022, his best result being fourth when he held off Hamilton for that position at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old offered the perhaps slightly contentious view that the reason was the change of race director, Michael Masi having been ousted and replaced by Niels Wittich for most grands prix during the season – although Lando Norris was the only non-Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes driver to end up on the podium in any of the 22 races.
“It’s because of the lack of circumstances,” said Ocon. “The race management has changed, it makes more ‘old fashioned’ decisions.
“There are fewer twists and turns in the race, so there is less chance.”