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Ocon opens up on Alpine exit as he dismisses suggestions of Monaco ‘punishment’

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 06: Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 talks to the media in the Paddock

Esteban Ocon has spoken publicly for the first time since the news dropped that he will be leaving Alpine at the end of the 2024 season, arguing that it is the “right time” for the two parties to go their separate ways.

Ocon is contesting his fifth season for the Renault-owned operation, with whom he claimed his maiden F1 victory at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix – the year that the team were rebranded to showcase the manufacturer’s Alpine sports car brand.

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

However, in the wake of a dramatic first-lap collision between Ocon and team mate Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix, it was announced that the 27-year-old will leave the squad when his current contract expires.

Asked in an interview with Sky Sports F1 if he was being punished for what happened in Monaco, and how much the incident influenced his impending departure from Alpine, Ocon said: “Well, not really, you know – not at all.

“A group like Renault doesn’t take decisions on single moments like that. For us, it was important that… We’ve discussed for several months and we decided together not to continue. It’s no secret that we’ve been talking with Alpine and various other teams as well.

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: Gasly furious after Ocon sent airborne in clash between the two Alpines

“I’ve spent five years with this team, achieving great things, and having some more difficult moments, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with this team and it’s time for me to have other challenges, exciting challenges.”

Ocon also moved to downplay reports that team boss Bruno Famin threatened to bench him for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, where Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan will step into his car for Friday’s first practice session.

READ MORE: Doohan to drive Ocon’s car during first practice in Canada

“I mean, you can ask the team, [but] I’m not aware of these things,” he countered. “I’ve prepared the same way as I’ve [always] done to race in Canada.

“I’ve seen various things about obviously Jack coming as a [punishment] or something, but it’s not the case. We’ve decided that it was a good time with my penalty [for the clash with Gasly], that the track was obviously quite ‘green’ in the beginning [with the resurfacing].

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 06: Jack Doohan of Australia and Alpine F1 arrives in the Paddock during

Ocon denied that Doohan’s upcoming FP1 run is being used as a “punishment”

“I had to give an FP1 [away] this year. We’ve done that here and I hope that Jack can provide some good feedback for the rest of the weekend for the team.”

Pushed on Famin’s strongly worded response to the Monte Carlo clash, and current relations between driver and team, Ocon added: “Well, what has been said has been said. We’re not going to come back on Monaco forever, now that we’re in Canada.

READ MORE: FIA unveils Formula 1 regulations for 2026 and beyond featuring more agile cars and active aerodynamics

“The important [thing] is that we discussed things, the relationship between myself, Bruno, the team, everything is good. We keep going and we will finish this relationship on a high. I’m looking to do good for the team in the remaining 16 races.”

As for where Ocon might be racing beyond those 16 Grands Prix and the cutting of his Alpine ties, the Frenchman reiterated that he is exploring his options up and down the grid, with an announcement to come “in due course”.

“At the moment, it’s not the right time to talk about it because there’s nothing to announce yet, but I will announce my future when the time is right,” he signed off.

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