Ocon disputes Alonso’s rep for ‘breaking team-mates’

Michelle Foster
Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso after the race. Qatar November 2021.

Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso congratulate each other after the race. Qatar November 2021.

Fernando Alonso’s reputation for “breaking team-mates” is undeserved, that’s according to Esteban Ocon who says it is a “privilege” working with the Spaniard.

Returning to the Formula 1 grid after two seasons away, Alonso teamed up with Ocon in an all-new line up for the Alpine team.

While excited to work alongside the double World Champion, Ocon went into their partnership with a few questions given Alonso’s reputation.

The Spaniard did not have an easy time alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2007 while Stoffel Vandoorne blames the politics that surrounded Alonso for his short Formula 1 career.

Ocon found Alonso to be anything but the prima donna he was billed as.

“A lot of people said Fernando was very difficult to work with, that he had a reputation for breaking team-mates and all that,” the Frenchman said as per Racer.

“I wanted to see it from my eyes, I wanted to see if what people were saying was true and in the end it wasn’t. We’ve just had a fantastic collaboration all together.

“He’s a hell of a racer – he’s extremely extremely fast, for sure the fastest team-mate I’ve had for a while. I was very happy to work alongside him.”

Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso

That collaboration was evident at the Hungarian Grand Prix when Alonso was applauded for his efforts in holding up the charging Lewis Hamilton to help Ocon to a first grand prix win.

Ocon said at the time that his team-mate was “absolutely incredible” while Alpine’s Alan Permane says his defence was “crucial” for Ocon’s win.

But it wasn’t just in Hungary where Alonso was supported the 25-year-old.

“I’ve learned a lot alongside him,” Ocon continued, “just the way Fernando thinks out of the box, where some other drivers would not think about or even the team would not think about stuff. It’s pushing the limit to strategies or how we can optimise everything – in that regard I’ve definitely learned a lot.

“Also racecraft, I think I’ve picked up quite a lot of things from him – looking at his first laps, which is something I’ve always been doing, always been following what he has been doing. And towards the end of the year I was only gaining positions not losing any, and I was doing great first laps.

“It is a privilege to be working alongside a legend like him and I put him as a reference for sure in the beginning of the year.

 

“I was happy to see that I was matching him in terms of pace and we were pushing each other and in the end that gave the team the maximum we could have, basically, and were extracting the maximum out of the package most of the time, so that was good.”

The team-mates finished the season P10 and 11 in the Drivers’ standings, Alonso seven points to the good.

 

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