Alpine and Ocon rift grows after Montreal team order

The relationship between Alpine and Esteban Ocon took another hit after both sides criticized each other over a team order late in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Ocon was running in eighth place with four laps to go but was suffering what the team says was “an energy management problem”, costing him performance and seeing him lose a place to Daniel Ricciardo. Teammate Pierre Gasly was directly behind, and Alpine says it instructed Ocon to let Gasly through at the start of Lap 68 to try and challenge Ricciardo ahead.

Ocon allowed Gasly through more than a lap later, a decision the team described as too late because by that time Ricciardo had been able to pull two seconds clear, and Gasly could only close that gap by 0.7s on the one full lap of racing left.


With Ocon crossing the line half a second ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Alpine stated it was too risky to ask the drivers to swap positions back at the end of the race, but Ocon insisted he had played the team game and not been fairly treated in return.

“No, it is unexplainable,” Ocon said. “I’ve always respected the instructions that I’ve been given as a driver, and I’ve done that once more. I’m the nice guy!

“I’ve done my part of the job – the team hasn’t, honestly. It is not fair on that race. So I’m very frustrated with how things have been played out. I guess there are a lot of reasons, so we’ll let the benefit of the doubt go on.”

Ocon says he doesn’t understand the initial call from Alpine to let Gasly through, having initially replied “Forget it!” when instructed to do so over team radio.

“No, because we were two and a half seconds behind Daniel,” he said. “In one lap, not even a Red Bull can catch up the gap. So, no, it makes no sense. So either we don’t know what we are doing or we don’t realize how far it is, or it’s something else. It wasn’t the right decision.”

Speaking to Sky Sports, Ocon also stated he has always followed team orders, despite the fallout from Monaco when Alpine claimed Ocon ignored team instructions when trying to overtake Gasly and retiring after making contact with his teammate on the opening lap.

“I am happy for the team to be able to score with both cars, but the order should be reversed on that occasion,” he said. “I got the instructions to let Pierre past with two laps to go to catch Daniel who was two and a half seconds in front and too fast for us. So the call was nonsense.

“I’ve done my part of the job, which is being a team player. I’ve always respected the instructions I’ve been given. It’s always been the case and I’ve never done anything different in my career. I’ve done my part of the job and not the team, and it is very sad.”

Story originally appeared on Racer