Confirmed as an Alpine driver from 2023, Pierre Gasly hopes this will allow he and Esteban Ocon to make some repairs to their relationship.
After a great deal of speculation, it is now official that Gasly will leave AlphaTauri at the end of the 2022 season to join Alpine, taking the seat that will be vacated by Fernando Alonso.
But a major talking point that has surrounded the move is the relations between Ocon and Gasly, the two Normandy natives known to have not been on the best of terms in the past.
Gasly acknowledged it has been “up and down” with Ocon in that regard but, now united in the cause to push themselves and the Alpine team forwards, Gasly hopes this will allow for bridges to be rebuilt.
“We have known each other for the past 20 years – and we are only 26!” Gasly told the Formula 1 website. “It just shows how long we have known each other. He was there when I did my first laps on the karting track.
“Our relationship has been going up and down since, it’s not new to anyone. I would say since we arrived in F1, it got better. We both achieved one of our dreams but went through different stages. [There is no point] comparing Esteban when we were six, 12, 18 and now 26 – we grew up a lot.
“We are a lot more mature, a lot more responsible, and at the end of the day we have a common target. We both want to be competitive, we both want to be fighting at the front. And we know to achieve that, we have to work together for the team. I’m quite excited about it.
“It’s an opportunity for both of us to get back to a similar relationship that we had in the past. What was the probability that two six-year-old kids from Normandy, France, living 20 minutes from each other, would end up 20 years later as team-mates in a French team? I think that is incredible and a very special story.”
Pierre Gasly has signed a multi-year deal to join Alpine in 2023 #F1
"I know the strengths of Alpine having raced against them over the past couple of years and, clearly, their progress and ambition is very impressive.”https://t.co/AXL9Nn78Ns
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) October 8, 2022
So that is the interpersonal stuff, as for on-track matters Gasly spoke very highly of Ocon’s ability as a racing driver, citing how he has held his own against two-time former World Champion Alonso at Alpine.
Gasly also pointed out the experience he brings with him as a former Red Bull and now AlphaTauri driver, all of this making him excited for his Alpine opportunity.
“I know Esteban is an excellent driver, he’s showing it every weekend with Fernando,” Gasly stated. “Everyone knows how good Fernando is and he’s definitely keeping up with him – and performing at a very high level.
“He’s got experience with the team, which will surely help, and then I have my own experience from the Red Bull family, working with Red Bull and AlphaTauri, which I’ll be able to fully utilise for the coming season. It’s very exciting.”