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'We are not robots' – Ocon confirms he will race in Canada and hits out at ‘abuse’ following Monaco crash

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MONACO - 2024/05/25: BWT Alpine F1 Team's French driver Esteban Ocon is seen in the paddock after

Esteban Ocon has confirmed he will be racing for Alpine at the Canadian Grand Prix – and says he has been “deeply saddened by the amount of abuse and negativity” he's received following his coming together with team mate Pierre Gasly in Monaco.

Ocon was handed a five-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Grand Prix in Montreal after his Lap 1 collision with Gasly, which forced him to retire from the race and prompted an angry response from team boss Bruno Famin.

READ MORE: Alpine will deal with Ocon and Gasly’s Monaco clash ‘behind closed doors’ insists Famin

Speaking to French broadcaster Canal+, Famin said: “It’s sad, this kind of incident. It’s exactly what we didn’t want to see. And there will be appropriate consequences.”

Following the incident there had been speculation Ocon could be “benched” for the Canadian Grand Prix but, in a lengthy post on social media, the 27-year-old has confirmed he will be racing in Canada while opening up on the challenges of being a competitor on the F1 grid.

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

“Much has been said in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix,” read Ocon's statement. “While I have received many messages of support, I have been deeply saddened by the amount of abuse and negativity that I have received online regarding my character, my driving, and my career.

“Thanks to the hard work, support, and sacrifices of many people, I’ve raced in over 140 Grands Prix so far since my debut in 2016. I have always been a tough competitor, and, like most drivers, I’ve had my share of incidents.

“I have been lucky to race alongside talented and experienced teammates, including race winners Daniel [Ricciardo], Checo [Perez] and Pierre [Gasly], and a double champion in Fernando [Alonso]. As team mates, we would often start races very close to each other which in some cases meant some tough battles on track, and sometimes contact.

READ MORE: Ocon to take five-place grid drop at Canadian GP after dramatic first-lap clash with team mate Gasly in Monaco

“Of course, I have made honest mistakes. We are not robots; we are athletes pushing ourselves to the limit every day to achieve our dreams of winning races. F1 is a sport where emotions run high, and passions run deep.

“I see and feel this every weekend at the track and on social media… the good and the bad. But the misinformed statements and gross distortions that I have seen online in recent days about my ability to work with a team have been inaccurate, hurtful, and damaging.”

Following events in Monaco, Ocon apologised on social media for the Lap 1 incident and, in his latest statement, reiterated that he took full responsibility for what happened last weekend.

He also added that he had full respect for his team mate and would continue to work professionally at Alpine.

Ocon continued: “Since my first laps in motorsport, I have approached this sport with humility, professionalism, and respect. These values were instilled in me from a very young age.

PALMER: Ocon’s Monaco lunge on Gasly didn’t deserve a penalty – but it was madness to try it on his team mate

“While each driver chases individual glory, this will always be a team sport first and foremost. I have always followed the instructions I have been given and raced to achieve the maximum for and with my team.

“I took responsibility for the incident on lap 1 last Sunday and, despite my DNF, I am glad the team added a point to the tally in what has been a difficult start to the season for all of us. I respect Pierre as a teammate and as a competitor. We have always worked collaboratively and professionally inside the team, and this will continue to be the case.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 25: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Alpine F1 A524 Renault on

Ocon will be turning out for Alpine in Canada, where he will serve his five-place grid penalty

“There is no reward without risk in Formula 1 – and race starts are intense, even more so in Monaco where the opening lap can dictate your finishing result. In the end, we are all competitors and hard, fair racing throughout the field is what makes our sport so great and the main reason why I love this sport so much.

“I’m looking forward to competing in Montreal, in front of the fantastic Canadian fans, and to the exciting opportunities the future holds. Esteban.”

READ MORE: Ocon boosted by new Alpine signing David Sanchez as Gasly expects ex-Ferrari man to be ‘full of ideas’

Alpine will now have their full attention on the Canadian Grand Prix in a bid to score more points in what has been a tough season so far. Gasly’s point in Monaco brought the team’s tally up to two for 2024, with Ocon having claimed the outfit’s other point in Miami.

They currently sit ninth in the constructors’ standings, with only Kick Sauber – who have yet to get off the mark – below them in 10th.

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