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ANALYSIS: What next for Esteban Ocon and Alpine after his exit?

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
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Esteban Ocon and Alpine’s decision to part ways at the end of the year means Ocon is on the look-out for a new office and the French manufacturer will feature a revised line-up in 2025. So, what does this all mean?

Why are Alpine changing things up?

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.

READ MORE: Alpine announce they will part ways with Ocon at end of 2024 season

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.

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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.

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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.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23: Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 attends the Drivers Press

Esteban Ocon is believed to have met with team boss Bruno Famin on Thursday

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.

The Frenchman released a statement the following day, confirming he would race in Canada – following speculation he could be ‘benched’ – and saying he has been “deeply saddened by the amount of abuse and negativity”.

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Who is in-line to replace Ocon next season?

Alpine say they will announce their line-up in “due course”, with the French manufacturer in talks with multiple drivers regarding a cockpit for 2025.

Retaining Pierre Gasly is of great interest to Alpine, the team encouraged by his speed while continuity in at least one seat is always welcome – however they are aware he’s of interest to at least two other teams on the grid.

As I’ve written for several months, reserve driver Jack Doohan is a serious contender for a race debut with the team next year.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 05: Jack Doohan of Australia and Alpine F1 walks in the Paddock prior to

Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan is a serious contender for a seat with the team in 2025

The Enstone-squad rate him highly, he’s a fast and popular member of the team, and Alpine are keen to prove their Driver Academy provides a genuine path all the way to the top.

It has also emerged that 10-time race winner Valtteri Bottas is in contention for a seat at Alpine – though sources say he is also in demand at Williams and Haas.

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Famin is said to be keen to try and bring in-form Carlos Sainz back to Enstone, however, it seems like the Spaniard is more likely to join Williams or Sauber/Audi.

Mick Schumacher, who is performing strongly for Alpine’s World Endurance Championship squad, is thought to be an outsider for an F1 return.

With plenty of options, Alpine are reasonably relaxed about their 2025 line-up.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26: Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari attends the press

Bruno Famin is said to be keen to try and bring in-form Carlos Sainz back to Enstone

Where will Ocon go in 2025?

Sauber/Audi and Haas have been chasing Ocon for several months now with both operations keen to bring a race winner with Ocon’s immense experience onboard as they look to build up their projects and become strong midfield contenders in the first instance.

For much of this year, Ocon has outperformed team mate Gasly, while the 27-year-old has delivered some stand-out performances in the last few years, including his win in Hungary in 2021 and a stellar podium set up by a brilliant qualifying in Monaco last year.

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Even if he has a history of having a challenging and tense time with his team mate, there’s no denying that he can be quick and get the job done.

It’s why talks continue with Haas and Sauber/Audi regarding a multi-year deal from 2025. If it’s the former, he faces a fight with Bottas for the seat. If it’s the latter, he must wait until Sainz decides if he wants to take that birth.

Either way, Ocon is in good shape to retain his place on the grid for 2025 – albeit in new surroundings.

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