Esteban Ocon has admitted he and Pierre Gasly will never be best friends but is willing to work together to improve Alpine.
Following years of relative ambivalence towards one another, Ocon and Gasly are now teammates and have spent more time together than they have done over the last 10 years.
“We are never going to be best friends. But it’s important for us is to keep the flow together, creating debate and solutions with the team,” said Ocon to selected media including Total Motorsport.
“That’s always been in motorsport, and the fact drivers work together to fight an issue, that’s what we need to try and get from our team and to be able to fight.”
No change in approach with Gasly
Gasly’s arrival has changed very little regarding how the team works. On the contrary, Ocon’s side of the garage will share the information gathered from days in the simulator.
However, this doesn’t mean Ocon is also focusing on his teammate.
“Obviously, it’s very early days, but in a way, my work doesn’t change,” explained Ocon.
“I’m still working with my group of people and with my group of engineers, but also, that’s been sent to Pierre’s side of the garage.
“When we are doing a simulator day, we share the information; we are one in the simulator, not two. [So] in a way that remains the same for me.
“It’s important to focus on myself and try to fix the little details that can be improved.”
Not underestimating midfield rivals
The midfield is set to be as close as ever in 2023, with Aston Martin making plenty of positive noises over the winter.
Despite a positive shakedown on Monday, Ocon remains grounded, believing the gap will indeed close, ensuring that no team can be underestimated.
“Everyone’s been talking about [the Aston Martin],” said Ocon. “It looks a very quick car on the aero side. So it looks a strong contender, but everyone’s going to work hard to close the gap.
“One thing we can’t do is underestimate Aston Martin, McLaren, AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo because they’re also thinking the same things we’re looking at.”