Formula 1

Esteban Ocon Breaks Silence After Monaco Incident

3 Mins read
Photo: Alpine F1

Esteban Ocon has defended himself with a thirteen part statement on X, following rumours and speculation he will miss the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix after an incident with his teammate at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend.

In an ambitious move, the Frenchman attempted an overtake on his teammate, Pierre Gasly, on the inside at Portier, heading into the famous Monaco tunnel. However, the move resulted in the pair banging tyres, sending Ocon’s car airborne, all before the race was red flagged for an earlier incident.

While BWT Alpine F1 Team managed to salvage a singular point with Gasly’s tenth place finish, the incident wasn’t without consequences for Ocon. Team boss Bruno Famin expressed his anger on French TV and hinted at repercussions, though it is now known that Ocon has retained his seat for the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix. Despite taking responsibility for the crash with his apology, the 27-year-old driver also took to social media to address the online criticism he received.

The lengthy X statement read as follows:

“Much has been said in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix. While I have received many messages of support, I have been deeply saddened by the amount of abuse and negativity that I have received online regarding my character, my driving, and my career. Thanks to the hard work, support, and sacrifices of many people, I’ve raced in over 140 Grands Prix so far since my debut in 2016. I have always been a tough competitor, and, like most drivers, I’ve had my share of incidents.

“I have been lucky to race alongside talented and experienced teammates, including race winners Daniel [Ricciardo], Checo [Perez] and Pierre [Gasly], and a double champion in Fernando [Alonso]. As teammates, we would often start races very close to each other which in some cases meant some tough battles on track, and sometimes contact. Of course, I have made honest mistakes. We are not robots; we are athletes pushing ourselves to the limit every day to achieve our dreams of winning races. F1 is a sport where emotions run high, and passions run deep.

“I see and feel this every weekend at the track and on social media… the good and the bad. But the misinformed statements and gross distortions that I have seen online in recent days about my ability to work with a team have been inaccurate, hurtful, and damaging. Since my first laps in motorsport, I have approached this sport with humility, professionalism, and respect. These values were instilled in me from a very young age.

Photo: Alpine F1

“While each driver chases individual glory, this will always be a team sport first and foremost. I have always followed the instructions I have been given and raced to achieve the maximum for and with my team. I took responsibility for the incident on lap 1 last Sunday and, despite my DNF, I am glad the team added a point to the tally in what has been a difficult start to the season for all of us. I respect Pierre [Gasly] as a teammate and as a competitor. We have always worked collaboratively and professionally inside the team, and this will continue to be the case.

“There is no reward without risk in Formula One – and race starts are intense, even more so in Monaco where the opening lap can dictate your finishing result. In the end, we are all competitors and hard, fair racing throughout the field is what makes our sport so great and the main reason why I love this sport so much. I’m looking forward to competing in Montreal, in front of the fantastic Canadian fans, and to the exciting opportunities the future holds.”

Alpine’s poor start to 2024 has been well documented and there could be widespread changes going into 2025, with both Ocon and his teammate, Gasly, out of contract and as race winners they’ll both want to be at a team higher up the grid. This would leave Alpine with quite the dilemma, although they do have Jack Doohan waiting for his chance in F1.

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