Formula 1

Alpine Discussed Gasly Move with Ocon Prior to 2023 Driver Announcement – Szafnauer

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Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

Otmar Szafnauer revealed that he spoke to Esteban Ocon about the possibility of Pierre Gasly becoming his team-mate at the BWT Alpine F1 Team in 2023, and he said he was supportive of bringing his countryman to the team.

Gasly was announced as an Alpine driver on Saturday, with the Frenchman becoming the final replacement for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team-bound Fernando Alonso after Oscar Piastri rejected the chance to drive for them in favour of a move to the McLaren F1 Team.

Szafnauer, the Team Principal at Alpine, said it was important to gauge the reaction of everyone within the Enstone-based outfit before committing to bringing in Gasly, and that included current driver Ocon, who had seen his relationship with his fellow Frenchman sour during their years coming through the junior ranks due to their on-track rivalry and the desire not to lose to the other driver.

“We made an informed decision,” Szafnauer is quoted as saying by PlanetF1.com.  “That means talking to the entire team, including Esteban beforehand, to make sure that if we did make a decision, it’s a team sport and we have to be able to work together and optimise.

“Esteban was very supportive, Pierre as well. They are professionals and they have no issue working together.”

Szafnauer says it would be great to see the two drivers become friends once more, but as long as they retain their professionalism, he will not have any issue with either of them.

“Hopefully, the friendship will rekindle,” admitted Szafnauer.  “They were friends at one point but from a professional perspective, they are both very happy to work with each other.”

Gasly’s arrival means Alpine will field an all-French line-up in 2023, the first time a Renault-owned team has done so since Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost raced for the Renault works team back in 1982, before either of the current drivers were born.

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