Laurent Rossi recalls what he said to Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon after the sprint race during the F1 Brazil GP when the two got together.
After a good start to their time together at Alpine, the end didn’t go pretty smoothly between Alonso and Ocon especially after the Spaniard signed a deal to switch to Aston Martin from 2023 onward. One could feel tensions from outside.
For the last few races, Alonso pointed out the reliability issues he faced this year and the amount of points he lost. The Spaniard did lose out to Ocon in the drivers’ standings where the Frenchman too had his share of problems with reliability.
The coming together in Brazil sprint race was probably the first time that the two drivers were at loggerheads. Not only they touched at Turn 4 but a final corner move on the lap eventually damaged both their cars where Alonso was penalised by the stewards.
They did manage to come back in the main race to more or less seal fourth which they eventually did in Abu Dhabi, but not before some stern words from Alpine chief Rossi to both the drivers post the sprint race during the Brazilian GP weekend.
Rossi recalled stating that he could drop both drivers even at the cost of losing money if they didn’t gel together. He stressed on working together to ensure fourth place ahead of McLaren, which they earned despite the problems they had in 2022.
“I told the drivers, as long as they behave as adults, I’ll treat them as adults so they can race until the team is worse off, which happened in Brazil,” said Rossi. “So, I reminded them of our contract, and I reminded them of the fact that I have plenty of drivers that are longing to race in their place.
“And it would be a shame to finish the year with two other drivers, even if it costs me a lot. They took their responsibility and they did a brilliant job. So, it happens to everyone, I guess, this is what makes those drivers incredible champions. They have this killer instinct and sometimes it goes a bit too far.
“So, that’s my role as well, to bring them back into a better space,” summed up Rossi, who added that they did not impose team orders for the Sunday race as both were on different strategy anyhow. “We told them that, if we have to, they’ll have to follow the orders – but there were no team orders,” he said.
“We had two different strategies, we could not predict which one could yield the better outcome because it depends on the race conditions. But based on the pace, and the circumstances, we told them that, if we have to, we will impose swaps or things like that and they would have to comply – which they did. Which is perfect,” summed up Rossi.
Here’s Esteban Ocon on Fernando Alonso’s criticism
Here’s earning of Fernando Alonso
Here’s Fernando Alonso on his first day with Aston Martin