Alpine pair Gasly and Ocon reflect on Suzuka as tension remains

Gasly was not happy after having to concede a place to Ocon in Japan

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Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly have explained their views of the controversial late-race position swap at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.

With the laps running out, Gasly, running in ninth, was told by his race engineer, Karel Loos, to give the place up to Ocon before the chequered flag.

After a tense conversation with Loos on the team radio, Gasly gave the position up to Ocon at the final chicane before cruising across the line to finish a disgruntled tenth.

“Yeah, we’ve discussed it internally, which is the most important [thing],” explained Ocon to the press. “We know where we are going from now. 

“But it’s been a similar thing a couple of years ago with Daniel [and] Fernando. We’ve made those switches from one side or another, and the important thing for us as a team is to maximise the result we can get.

“I’m always on the side of I prefer to race doesn’t matter what there is to gain in front there shouldn’t be artificial racing in any way. I’m more of an old-school guy on that one. 

“But I also understand the side of the team, which is  to get as many points as possible, which is normal, so you need to understand both.”

When Gasly was asked the same question, he refused to comment, merely reiterating the point that the matter had been dealt with internally.

Pierre Gasly on track on a scorching free practice Friday for the 2023 Italian GP | Alpine F1 Team

Gasly remaining tight-lipped

Following, Suzuka, the CEO of the Renault group Luca De Meo, made a rare visit to Alpine‘s factory in Enstone to deliver a passionate speech for those in the factory.

De Meo‘s arrival in rural Oxfordshire comes at a time when he is trying to ease long-standing tensions between the English and French sides of the team after a turbulent 2023.

Alpine is also searching for a successor to replace Otmar Szafnauer, dismissed during the Belgian GP weekend with interim team principal Bruno Famin, according to French newspaper L’Equipe, likely to be appointed for 2024.

“Everything has been discussed, and I’ll leave it there,” told Gasly when asked about his views on the incident before moving on to De Meo’s speech. “I was at the simulator on that day.

“It was definitely [a] very inspiring [speech] [trying to] keep pushing the team forward for change and improvement. I think [it was] very positive to be there all united as a team.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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