‘Latest argument not to renew’ – Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly ‘repeatedly told’ of Monaco team orders

Michelle Foster
Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon of Alpine

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon have clashed for the last time say Alpine bosses

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly had team orders “repeated” to them ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, but that wasn’t the tipping point in Ocon’s Alpine exit.

Teaming up last season at Alpine, pundits and fans were intrigued to see how the all-French line-up would work given Ocon and Gasly were boyhood enemies.

Monaco was ‘only part of the argument not to renew’ Esteban Ocon’s contract

Despite one notable race-ending crash at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, there were a few other niggles with the two at times feeling hard done by Alpine’s team orders.

But at the start of a season in which Alpine have been struggling to score points, both Ocon and Gasly have at least publicly been playing the team game and talking about helping Alpine recover.

And then came Monaco.

According to F1 journalist Lawrence Barretto, the team-mates were told more than once that team orders in play around the streets of Monte Carlo where Gasly lined up P10 to Ocon’s 11th.

But the latter still launched an ill-timed and ill-judged move on his team-mate on the very first lap, the contract lifting Ocon’s A524 into the air with the car suffering race-ending damage.

A week later Alpie announced that this season will be Ocon’s last with the team.

However, it is not a reaction to Monaco, rather it was a discussion that had been ongoing for “several months”.

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“On the face of it, the news of Ocon’s departure after five years with the Enstone team might look like a reaction to the Frenchman colliding with team-mate Pierre Gasly last time out in Monaco,” Barretto wrote for the official F1 website.

“There is no doubt Alpine boss Bruno Famin was furious with Ocon after the collision.

“I understand Ocon and Pierre Gasly were told before qualifying in Monaco that team orders would be in use in the Grand Prix and that it was a requirement of the driver behind on the grid to support the driver ahead.

“That message, I’m told, was repeated ahead of the race on Sunday. Therefore you can understand Famin’s irritation when Ocon ignored that instruction and ambitiously tried a move on Gasly on lap one into Portier, causing damage to both cars and forcing his own retirement.

“However, while that was a significant moment, sources say a wider discussion regarding Ocon’s future had been ongoing for several months and this latest incident was only part of the argument not to renew his contract.

“After all, this was not the first time Ocon and Gasly had got too close for comfort with each other, the duo going wheel to wheel for a whole lap in Miami – while Ocon has collided with previous team- mates Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez multiple times.

“Alpine were also aware that Ocon was considering his options elsewhere on the grid, with Haas and Sauber/Audi particularly keen on recruiting him.

“And sometimes, change can be good.”

Ocon has said he will announce his next step in due course but already it’s been suggested his options are limited with only Haas, Audi and Williams potentially in the running.

Barretto says Ocon was only informed last Thursday that Alpine would not renew his contract.

“It is believed Ocon was in Enstone on Thursday for a pre-planned session in the simulator. He then met Famin afterwards, where sources say he was told his services would no longer be required at the end of the season,” he said.

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