Esteban Ocon speaks of F1’s ‘dark side’ as Alpine threaten axe for Canada GP

Jamie Woodhouse
Esteban Ocon, Alpine, wearing sunglasses at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine.

With Esteban Ocon facing the reportedly “serious” threat of being benched for the Canadian Grand Prix, he referred to uncertainty over his Alpine future as the “dark side” of Formula 1 as he searches for career security.

Ocon became one of the major talking points of the Monaco Grand Prix for all the wrong reasons after colliding with Alpine team-mate Pierre Gasly on the opening lap at Portier, a coming together which saw Ocon’s A524 lifted off the ground.

Esteban Ocon does not want to lose F1 place again

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Ocon was eliminated from the race in the incident and incurred the wrath of Alpine team boss Bruno Famin, who would threaten “consequences” for his driver. That was taken by media personnel as a suggestion that Ocon could be forced to sit out the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix, a possibility which is reportedly under “serious consideration”.

All of this comes at a time when Ocon and Gasly are working on securing their F1 futures, both having Alpine contracts which expire at the end of F1 2024, and Ocon does not want to end up on the sidelines again, referring to this process as the “dark side” of Formula 1.

Ocon would make reference to 2018, having been dropped at the end of that season in favour of Lance Stroll at Racing Point, following his father Lawrence Stroll’s purchase of the team. He would return to the grid in 2020 with Renault.

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Asked by media including whether recent major changes in the Alpine team, including the signing of new executive technical director David Sanchez, are enough to make him consider staying, Ocon replied: “We’ll see.

“I mean, in Formula 1, you know how it is, how things can change quickly.

“But the important thing is to be secure as early as possible. That is a clear target of mine, as always.

“I don’t want to pay the price a second time, like at the end of 2018, which was not a good memory and it was not for performance reason.

“I think I’m doing a good job again this year and for the years that I’ve made in F1. I deserve to be having a place in F1. We’ll see.

“At the moment, my head is fully into this team, is fully dedicated, like I’ve been in the project for years, that is very clear.

“But in Formula 1, it’s quite a dark side, you know, that path, and not the one that I’ve ever enjoyed. So as soon as it will be done, the better it will be.”

Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan could make his F1 debut in Canada if the shock call was indeed made to bench Ocon.

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