Esteban Ocon and Alpine split gets ugly as team order row emerges at Canadian GP

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine's Esteban Ocon with a stern look.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon.

Esteban Ocon and Alpine were involved in a team orders row in Canada, Ocon finally obliging, but 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve sensed sabotage from the Frenchman.

In the closing stages of the Canadian Grand Prix, Alpine requested Ocon to concede position to team-mate Pierre Gasly to allow him to attack RB’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Did Esteban Ocon sabotage Alpine’s plan?

The initial request over team radio was met with a clear “forget it” from Ocon, who was then informed that three laps remained in the race, Ocon eventually letting Gasly through at Turn 8 on lap 69 of 70.

But speaking to Sky F1 after the race, Ocon had said he was only told with “one-and-a-half or two laps to go”, stressing that he was the “team player” and has always been in his F1 career.

Alpine and Ocon did confirm ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix that they will part ways come the end of the F1 2024 season.

“I’m happy for the team to be able to score with both cars, but the order should be reversed on that occasion,” said Ocon.

“I got the instructions to let Pierre past one-and-a-half or two laps to go, to catch Daniel, who was two-and-a-half seconds in front and too fast for us, so the call made no sense.

“But you know, I’ve done my part of the job, which is being a team player. I’ve always respected the instructions that I’ve been given. It’s always been the case and I’ve never done anything different in my career.

“But yeah, I’ve done my part of the job, but not the team today, and it is very sad.”

Asked if he felt this was due to his impending exit, Ocon replied: “We’ll let the benefit of the doubt.”

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Analysing the team orders incident, Villeneuve saw clear tactics at play from Ocon, who he felt let Gasly by to make it look like he was being the “team player”, but made sure to do it late enough so that Gasly could not overtake Ricciardo.

He said: “That wasn’t good, because we heard him in his comments, ‘I was a team player, I let him by, the team was wrong’ and so on, but he made sure that he waited long enough that it was too late for Gasly to go and attack.

“But he still let him by to say, ‘I was a team player’. So there’s a lot of thought process going in there.”

Ocon has potential options to remain on the F1 grid for 2025, having been strongly linked with Haas, though he was giving nothing away when it came to his future.

Asked when he can make an announcement, Ocon replied: “I will announce when the timing is right. It’s not the right moment now.”

Alpine’s three points scored in Canada saw then jump ahead of Williams up to P8 in the Constructors’ standings.

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