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Gasly says latest Alpine restructuring ‘came as a surprise’ but he and team mate Ocon insist they ‘trust the process’

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Alpine drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon have given their reaction to the latest personnel changes at the team, with Technical Director Matt Harman and Head of Aerodynamics Dirk de Beer both departing.

Harman and De Beer left after Alpine’s painful start to the 2024 season, which saw Gasly and Ocon drop out in the Q1 qualifying phase and fail to score points on race day – having languished towards the back of the pack.

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The announcement comes in the wake of several high-level changes last year, with Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, Sporting Director Alan Permane, Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry and CEO Laurent Rossi all departing, and Bruno Famin recently being confirmed as full-time Team Principal.

Following Harman and De Beer’s exits, Alpine will have a trio of Technical Directors, with Joe Burnell as Technical Director (Engineering), David Wheater as Technical Director (Aerodynamics) and Ciaron Pilbeam as Technical Director (Performance).

Asked about the changes ahead of this week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Gasly said: “Obviously I’ve worked with them since I joined the team and I was pretty close with them. It came as a surprise, but then at the same time I trust my team, I trust the people in charge of the management, Bruno, Luca [de Meo, CEO of Alpine parent company Renault].

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Alpine F1 A524 Renault on

Alpine endured a tough start to 2024 with a double Q1 exit and no-score in Bahrain

“I see positive changes in the team behind-the-scenes. Obviously it doesn’t reflect yet on the race track but I trust the people in charge.”

Giving his verdict, Ocon commented: “I think the restructuring when we are not working exactly where we want to be is obviously a thing that should help us to move forward. I trust the process that we are going into and we’ll see where that leads us.”

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Both Gasly and Ocon then pondered what’s next for Alpine’s overhauled A524 challenger and whether Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Corniche Circuit could be kinder to the package.

“We’ve all been disappointed with the start of the year, even though we knew it was going to be tough – I think we called it many times,” said Gasly. “It was a very tough Bahrain Grand Prix.

“At least we’ve got a starting point, we know what we’ve got to work on, we know what we’ve got to improve. What I’m seeing from the team actually is we’re very united. Everyone is aware of the difficulties and limitations that we’re having and everyone wants to find solutions.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 06: Bruno Famin, Team Principal of Alpine F1 talks with Pierre Gasly

Gasly pictured catching up with Alpine team boss Famin after news of the latest internal changes

“It’s not an easy time but the reaction I’m seeing from the team is positive and I definitely hope for every single person working and member of the team that we’re going to be able to make the step forward we need.”

Ocon said: “We’ve kept in touch obviously with the engineers in between where we were resting and training, getting ready for this weekend. We obviously had a few more ideas on where we need to improve the car.

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“It’s a different circuit here and it’s going to be important to assess exactly where we are, because it’s the first time we drive the car in a different circuit. I look forward to discovering how it’s going to be here. It’s always a fun track as well, so it’s going to be great to drive.”

He continued: “We’re all in the same boat in the end. We are obviously all not happy where we are, it’s a frustrating time, that’s very clear. But if we take ourselves down it’s going to be an even tougher time.

“No one’s happy about [the situation] and we will keep pushing all together to elevate the team forward and to be where we should be.”

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