Ocon clarifies ‘new police role’ after Twitter storm

Date published: January 4 2022 - Jon Wilde

Esteban Ocon during a photoshoot at the Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.

Esteban Ocon has felt compelled to clarify a tweet he sent that suggested he had been given a new role with the French police.

The Alpine driver has spent some of his downtime since the end of the Formula 1 season filming a commercial for his team.

It was based upon the order of a fleet of Alpine A110 cars by the French gendarmerie, delivery of which is taking place over four years.

Ocon’s part in Alpine publicising the handover of the initial batch of vehicles was to perform some donuts in one of the A110s in the car park of a police building, to the backdrop of a siren.

On New Year’s Day, the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner tweeted a video of himself doing that, accompanied by the message: “They gave me the title of chief driving officer. Starting the year right @Gendarmerie enjoy! Happy 2022 everyone!”

Unfortunately, some people took it all a bit too seriously, replying with a variety of reasons why Ocon should have been in trouble with the law himself for what he had done.

The complaints ranged from “it isn’t a racetrack, I’m not amused” to “it’s a disgrace what’s being done with taxpayers’ money” to “I hope that gets a penalty” – and also a claim that it disrespected those who sadly lose their lives on the road each year.

The latter is anything but a laughing matter, of course, but Ocon felt he had to respond to the ‘fun police’ and explain what was going on, thus tweeting the full version of the video in which he steps out of the car with Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

“After reading some tweets, I want to clarify that I was at the wheel of the Gendarmerie for a promotional shooting organised by Alpine,” wrote the 25-year-old Frenchman.

The caption on that video referred to Ocon as “Alpine F1 team – chief driving officer”, to which he hope his team-mate Fernando Alonso does not take exception!

 

Alonso would surely not have minded the previous tweet on Ocon’s account, posted on December 30, which gave his reflections on 2021.

“Happiness with our victory in Hungary and with Fernando’s podium in Qatar,” began Ocon’s specific recollections, saying it had been “a season full of emotions”.

Then, referring to the Spaniard, he added: “I’ve discovered a great person and a friend. Racing alongside Fernando has been a privilege. Le plan is unleashed.”