‘No need for some of his criticism’ – Ocon ‘disappointed’ by sour end to time as 'legend' Alonso’s team mate
Esteban Ocon has expressed some sadness over the way his spell alongside Fernando Alonso at Alpine came to an end, with tensions flaring between the pair via some wheel-to-wheel battling at the recent Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
After some close calls earlier in the season, the Alpine cars clashed twice on the opening lap of the Sprint at Interlagos, initially rubbing bodywork before Alonso ran into the back of Ocon’s car on the pit straight – the stewards handing the Spaniard a five-second penalty for the latter incident.
Speaking post-race, Alonso commented that “it’s far from ideal when it’s your team mate, but it’s been a little like this [with Ocon] all year long”, before referencing his move to Aston Martin by adding, “it’s one more race and then it’s over, finally”.
Asked about Alonso’s comments as the F1 paddock reconvened one more time in 2022 at last weekend’s Abu Dhabi finale, Ocon said: “It’s no secret that I was disappointed in seeing his comments after the race. There was no need for some [of the] criticism that he has done.
“But I respect him a lot. I will forever respect him for what he has done on the track over the years. He’s a legend of the sport and that won’t change – but I was a bit disappointed.”
Ocon was left feeling much happier about Alpine’s end to the season, with his seventh-place finish at Yas Marina ensuring that the team beat main rivals McLaren to P4 in the constructors’ championship.
It also meant the Frenchman wound up eighth in the drivers’ standings, 11 points and one place ahead of Alonso, who will take up the Aston Martin seat vacated by the retiring Sebastian Vettel for 2023.
Joining Ocon at Alpine is Pierre Gasly, as the pair form the first full-time all-French driver line-up in a Renault-backed team since Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux back in 1982.