Esteban Ocon on beating Fernando Alonso with Pierre Gasly quizzed on comparisons

Henry Valantine
Esteban Ocon, Alpine, taps Fernando Alonso with a microphone. Brazil, November 2022.

Esteban Ocon taps Alpine team-mate Fernando Alonso on the head with a microphone. Brazil, November 2022.

Esteban Ocon has said he beat Fernando Alonso “racing the way I want to race” at Alpine last season, after a fiery battle between the now-former team-mates.

Their on-track duelling became increasingly fractious as the 2022 season wore on after a tight tussle in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the year, before they eventually collided in Sao Paulo – much to the anger of team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

Ocon completed a rare feat in beating the two-time World Champion in the Drivers’ standings last season, though Alonso himself will point to his poor reliability record over the course of the year as a key reason behind this, retiring four times in the final seven races before his departure for Aston Martin this time around.

Tension eventually grew between the pair after some dicey on-track moments, but Ocon feels his approach is no different to how he has gone about his whole career to date.

“I’m a racing driver, I’m competing to beat everyone,” Ocon told reporters including at the recent launch of Alpine’s A523.

“You know, that’s how I’ve been racing my whole life and that’s how I’ve succeeded and won titles in the past. And that’s how, you know, in the end, I beat Fernando as well – racing the way I want to race.

“So, for me, the important [thing] is obviously to score the points, work together with Pierre. That’s very important. But you know, I want to fight anyone, and I believe I can fight anyone – and I’m happy to be racing that way, and that’s how I’ve raced my whole life.”

As for Ocon’s new team-mate, Pierre Gasly has come in as Alonso’s replacement to form an all-French line-up at Alpine for the years ahead, teaming up with a long-time rival in Ocon, having grown up near each other and raced each other all through the junior categories.

When asked if there was a lot to live up to from his perspective in replacing a driver of Alonso’s standard however, Gasly would prefer to focus on what he can control on his own.

“I literally don’t look at Fernando,” Gasly stated to media including recommends

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“He’s done his career, incredible career, and then I’m just looking at myself and my own career.

“I want to be World Champion one day, I want to win races, I want to bring Alpine the top and that’s all I’m focusing on.

“So the team has learned a lot with Fernando, which is good, and [they] will carry whatever they can from him going forward in the future.

“And then it’s up to us now with Esteban to work in the best way possible to keep that evolution and keep the progress we’ve been seeing over the last few years, and closing that gap to the top three.”