Alpine teammates Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly are expecting to be able to put past troubles behind them in order to work well together in 2023.
The two French drivers pair up at Alpine for this season, with Gasly jumping ship from AlphaTauri to make it an all-French affair at the French team.
However, Gasly and Ocon are known to not have had a particularly friendly past together, stemming back to their days racing each other on the karting scene. While that rivalry hasn’t spilled over into bad blood in Formula 1, the pair have been open about the fact that there is a contentious history – but are determined that it won’t cause any problems as they work together as teammates this year.
Attending their first official Alpine work do as teammates, the pair peeled the covers off their new A523 in London during the week, and spoke to the press about how they believe they’ll be able to pull together for the good of the team.
Pierre Gasly: We’re both grown-up people now
Gasly, who has moved away from the Red Bull outfit for the first time since entering Formula 1 six years ago, said both he and Ocon are aware of the responsibilities on their shoulders.
“It’s been good, I think it’s been really good,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com, when asked about his relationship with his compatriot.
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“Obviously, we’ve spent more time together in the past few months than we’ve spent over the last eight to 10 years. I think it was very important and I’m pleased with the way that we’ve been handling things with Esteban. We’re both grown-up people now, much more mature, and aware of the responsibilities that we have representing a team like Alpine with the Renault group behind us.
“I’ve got no doubt that we will be able to work very closely and work really well to push the team forward and it is going to benefit all of us. We’ve got to work well together, and then we’ll push the team forward to performing the best way we can.”
Esteban Ocon: We’ll never be best friends
Ocon, who is very much ingrained within the fabric of the Enstone-based squad having joined Renault in 2020, was upfront about the fact that he and Gasly will probably never be completely enamoured with each other, but said he expects them to work well together.
“No stories, I’m sorry to disappoint you. There’s not gonna be any headlines!” he told media, including PlanetF1.com, when asked about spending time in Gasly’s company during the winter.
“We are never going to be best friends, but what’s important for us is to keep the flow, growing together, which creates debate, creates solutions with the team, and that’s how it’s been in motorsport forever.
“The drivers work together and notify an issue, or identify the way to work and then teams come up with some kind of revolution and that’s what we need to try and get from our team to be able to fight for the front.”
Adjusting to life with a new teammate after Fernando Alonso’s departure after two seasons together, Ocon said he’s yet to feel any difference from Gasly’s arrival.
“Obviously, it’s very early days, but in a way, my work doesn’t change,” he said.
“I’m still working with my group of people, with my group of engineers, but also that’s been sent to Pierre’s side of the garage. But when we are doing a simulator day, we share information – we’re one in the simulator, we’re not two. So that remains the same for me. It’s important to focus on myself and try and fix the little details that we think can be improved.
“It’s early days and at the moment, I can’t tell you much differences.”