Fresh team orders angst sours Alpine’s double points finish

Outgoing Formula 1 Alpine driver Esteban Ocon scored points at the Canadian Grand Prix, the first race since announcing his departure from the team and one race after flying over teammate Pierre Gasly on the first lap in Monaco.

But Gasly and Ocon's two-point finishes in ninth and 10th in Montreal were affected by a dispute over team orders.

Ocon, whose destination has yet to be announced after the 2025 Alps, was ahead of teammate Gasly late in the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Ocon finished eighth, just ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, with five laps to go. Tsunoda then spun backwards and passed his right-back teammate Daniel Ricardo Ocon. Ocon was then asked to allow teammate Gasly, who will remain at the team next year, to attack Ricciardo up front.

“Yes, forget it,” Okon replied. He was told: This is the request.

Gasly was then told that he might have to get past Ocon in a head-to-head fight, but Ocon backed away from the warning that he wanted the team to “do what's right in the end”.

There was no confirmation that Alpine would swap drivers again at the end of the race, but with two laps to go, Ocon let Gasly pass.

Ocon was then told: “Cars do not change places, drive to the end please.” “Yes, amazing, thank you, amazing,” he replied.

Gasly failed to catch Ricciardo but Gasly finished ninth and Ocon tenth.

“No comments. I'm very nice,” Ocon said in the cool-down lap before the race engineer admitted his frustration. “I did what I had to do which is the most important but you guys didn't do what you had to do. “That's it,” Ocon continued.

“To be discussed shortly,” Firewall replied. Okon's response was: “Thanks for the support.”

Alpine later justified its choice because Ocon had an energy management problem, which affected his speed. The team said it did not switch drivers again because Ocon “was losing performance due to a suspected PU issue and the team was confident that Pierre would attack Ricciardo with DRS (and Ricciardo without DRS).”

But when the media asked him immediately after the race if he could explain the team orders, Ocon was clearly upset.

“No, this is inexplicable, this!” to reply.

“I've always respected the instructions I received as a driver and I've done it again, the nice guy I am.

“I did my part of the job, but the team frankly didn't.

“And it's not fair in this race, so I'm very disappointed with the way things turned out but I think there are a lot of reasons why, so we'll let the benefit of the doubt continue.”

He was adamant there was no realistic chance of Gasly being caught with Ricciardo after swapping positions.

“No, because we were two and a half seconds behind Danielle!” Ocon said when asked if the team's plan made sense to him.

“In one lap, not even Red Bull can catch that gap, so it didn't make sense.

“Either we don't know what we're doing or we don't realize how far we are, or it's something else.

“It wasn't the right decision.”

Ocon was publicly reprimanded by team boss Bruno Famine after his collision with teammate Gasly in Monaco – which resulted in him receiving a five-place drop penalty in Canada – and insisted he felt optimistic for the rest of the season.

“I was able to compete with a lot of faster cars as well… and obviously that was a good feeling, but it was a little bit [of a] “Bitter ending,” he added to Sky.

“I'm optimistic for the rest of the year that I can push this car to the limit and there is a lot to do with this team.”

Gasly described the result as “good teamwork” and said, “This is what we need until the end of the year.”

The Alpine team has had a poor start to the season, scoring no goals at all in the first five races, but now sits eighth in the Constructors' Championship, two points behind Haas.

“We know that on days like today we have to make the most of what we have,” Gasly added.

“We can't afford to make any mistakes and we can't afford to take any unnecessary risks, so it's been well managed.”

Ocon has not announced his destination for 2025, with the possibility of choosing Haas or Sauber/Audi.

“I will announce when the time is right; “Now is not the right moment,” he said in Canada.


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