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‘We both have the same targets’ – Ocon says he and new team mate Gasly will be joint ‘number ones’ at Alpine

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Esteban Ocon has described linking up with Pierre Gasly at Alpine as “more than awesome” ahead of their new partnership formally getting under way at pre-season testing this week.

While Ocon is preparing for his third successive season with Alpine, and fourth with parent company Renault, a change to the team’s driver line-up for 2023 sees Gasly arrive from AlphaTauri – taking the place of Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso.

READ MORE: Alpine team boss Szafnauer sets clear target for 2023 and shares update on their ‘100-race plan’

Ocon and Gasly raced against each other during their karting days, with tensions creeping in along the way, but the two French drivers insist that is all in the past as they bid to collectively get the most out of Alpine’s new A523 challenger.

Asked about Gasly joining the team, and how they appear to have been getting on well so far, Ocon said: “Yeah, for sure. With Pierre it’s going to be a great year. He’s joining the team in the right moment, in the moment that we are also going up [and] progressing.

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Gasly, Ocon and Charles Leclerc watched basketball together during the off-season

“We both have the same targets, we want to fight at the front, and I’m sure together we have a great story to write, together with this team.

“If people would have said one day we would be racing for one of the top teams in F1, I think we would have been so happy when we were little kids, and now that is the case, so it’s more than awesome and I can’t wait to get started.”

TECH ANALYSIS: Alpine make big changes with their new car as they hunt the top three

Ocon is determined to continue where he left off in 2022 after his performances alongside two-time world champion Alonso helped Alpine beat McLaren to P4 in the constructors’ standings.

Put to him that he has evolved into a team leader, Ocon commented: “I feel like I need to keep doing the work that I was doing last year – it’s something that was working well. Each driver is a leader in one way.

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Ocon spent 2021 and 2022 racing alongside Alonso at Alpine

“Me and Fernando last year, we had same approach, the same feedback for the team. But there was not one leader or one guy that was not a leader. We had two number ones and I expect that to be the same thing this year.

“Of course, the important [thing] is for the team to get Pierre as competitive as he can be in the beginning, and I’m sure that will be the case. The team has a lot of experience and I can definitely use that well in the beginning to identify what we need to work on.

READ MORE: Alpine insist engine issue that plagued them last season is ‘resolved’ for 2023

“There’s no reason to change anything, for me, on that side, and I will focus on myself and try to get the maximum out of this little beauty [the A523].”

Following a shakedown at Silverstone, Ocon and Gasly will get back behind the wheel of the A523 during this week’s pre-season test in Bahrain, which runs from Thursday through Saturday.

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