The news that caused an earthquake in the ‘silly season’ of the 2022 Formula 1 season was the announcement of the signing of Fernando Alonso by Aston Martin from next year, and it is that the departure of the Asturian from Alpine left a valued seat in Grill. After many rumours, the driver who will accompany Esteban Ocon at Enstone is still unknown, and although the Frenchman has a long-term contract with the team, he was disappointed by the departure of the two-time champion.
The pair were key to taking them to fifth place in the constructors’ standings last year, scoring a historic win at the Hungarian GP thanks to Alonso’s defense of Hamilton to put his teammate on top of the podium. , and now they are fighting to overtake McLaren and be fourth at the end of the year.
In the run-up to the first race after the summer break, the Belgian GP, Esteban Ocon received the question everyone was waiting for. Did the Frenchman know of the Spanish decision or did he find out through the Aston Martin statement?
“It was because of the press release, and he sent me a message saying that he will miss me in the future, but that is all I have known,” he acknowledged. “I think everyone was shocked throughout the F1 paddock.
“It’s sad to see Fernando [Alonso] leaving. I’ve really enjoyed working with him, obviously we’re going to stay together until the end of the year, I have a good relationship,” said the Frenchman. “There is a good competitive spirit within the team.”
“So far it’s worked out well, we’re fourth in the constructors, and I’m eighth in the championship, which is my best start to the season so far. We still have a lot to do before he leaves, but obviously it’s sad to see a legend as he leaves the team”, assured Esteban Ocon .
However, the man from Évreux admitted that he learned during his time as the Spaniard’s teammate in Alpine: “I’ve learned things, good things. The preparation for the race was interesting, how he works with the tires, and all that kind of thing, but I’m I am sure that he has also learned from me”.
Now, the 25-year-old driver is the pivot on which the entire Renault Group universe revolves in Formula 1, and as the team’s boss himself, Otmar Szafnauer recognized, he has all the ballots to be number one at Enstone. However, that is a weight that Ocon wants to get rid of: “In any case, there is no leader, neither number one nor number two.”
“It doesn’t work like that in the teams anymore, we have the same status, and that is established in the contracts, as always, but it is important, for me, with the knowledge that I have now, that no matter who is next to me, I have to keep my way of working and performing,” he said. “Because who normally comes to a new team has time to adapt, you need a car that has to perform, but I’m sure they will make the right choice and find the right driver to be by my side.”
“I’m leading the development now, at the moment. Both [Alonso and Ocon] have very similar comments about the car, sometimes I say, things I prefer, sometimes Fernando says other things, but we never disagree with each other, so I’m quite sure that it will work well in the future,” said the Frenchman.
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