Helmut Marko spots Alpine ‘problem’ which makes Esteban Ocon issue ‘very difficult’

Henry Valantine
Esteban Ocon on the grid in Monaco.

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon will leave the team after the 2024 season

Helmut Marko believes Alpine face a “problem” in the fact Esteban Ocon’s collision with Pierre Gasly was not the first, making a solution “very difficult” from their perspective.

The two Alpine drivers tagged wheels at Portier on the opening lap of the Monaco Grand Prix and Ocon was sent flying into the air, for which he apologised after the race, though Gasly was able to carry on and score his first point of the season – though this is not the first flashpoint between the two team-mates.

Helmut Marko: Alpine face ‘very difficult’ call with Esteban Ocon crash

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin threatened “consequences” for Ocon in the aftermath of the two team-mates making contact, breaking the golden rule among teams of never colliding with the sister car.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko pointed to different examples of when this had happened at his team in the past and how they went about dealing with it, though Alpine’s issue is the fact this is not the first time this has happened with the same two drivers, after Ocon and Gasly came to blows in Australia last season.

“We’ve had this twice at Red Bull Racing with team-mates getting in each other’s way, once in 2018 with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in Baku, and once with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in 2010 in Turkey,” Marko wrote in a column for Speedweek when discussing Ocon’s collision with Gasly.

“In both cases, we summoned both drivers to the company and discussed it openly with them, making it clear to them that such collisions with team-mates are simply not acceptable.

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“Ricciardo then left us at the end of the season and there were no more such incidents with Webber; they accepted that this was not acceptable.

“Measures are difficult to implement in such a case, because you would have to be able to prove clear intent, and that is not the case.

“The driver then says that he misjudged the accident, which means that there is no longer any intent.

“The problem with Alpine, however, is that it wasn’t the first time, and I think that adds to the difficulty.”

After the collision, former Red Bull driver Gasly believes Ocon “needs to make a change” in how he goes about his driving, claiming he defied team orders in that the car which qualified behind would be the rear gunner throughout the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ocon looked to muscle his way by and failed, with the tight confines of Monte Carlo not proving viable for such a move on the opening lap.

Gasly told media including PlanetF1.com: “I was quite shocked, and you know, it was very unnecessary.

“And for the team, you know, you should never have such a situation, especially between team-mates. So, just sad.

“Disappointed with the situation, and especially [because] we had clear instructions before the race on what to do and whoever qualified ahead, [the] trailing car was supposed to help throughout the race with the strategy. But unfortunately, didn’t happen.

“And that, we definitely need to speak because we can’t afford especially in the season like that, to have points [dropped], all might be crucial at the end of the year, and just got to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

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