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Is it the end of the feud between Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly?

The pair will need to put aside their differences to help Alpine move forward in Formula 1

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Alpine have confirmed that Pierre Gasly will partner up with Esteban Ocon in 2023 to represent their team on the grid; however, the two have not always met eye to eye.

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon grew up racing together before a rift between them torn the friendship (Image Credit: Esteban Ocon Official Twitter)

There were many doubts as to whether Gasly would eventually join Alpine, mostly because of the feud he has had with fellow Frenchman Ocon.

The two grew up kart racing together; however, Gasly claimed, “I started to beat him and he didn’t like it so we’re not friends anymore.”

It is said that the rift between the two started before they even got into Formula 1. However, the current AlphaTauri driver admitted that the two still hold respect for one another.

Ocon would have preferred to have Mick Schumacher racing alongside him. The German even celebrated Ocon’s 26th birthday with him. However, he left it up to Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi and Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer to decide on what would be best for the team.

Sky Sports F1 commentator and former Formula One driver Paul di Resta admitted that Ocon is not easy to get on with. He explained that he doesn’t “think too many teammates get on with Ocon.” He also admitted, though, that having a French duo representing a French team would be great for Alpine and the sport.

On the other hand, his Sky Sports F1 colleague Rachel Brookes said that Ocon is “nothing but charming.”

Comments from Otmar Szafnauer

Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer was aware that Ocon and Gasly were not the best of friends. He confirmed that he did not rush to the decision without informing the rest of the team.

He said, as RacingNews365 reported, “We made an informed decision, and that means talking to the entire team, including Esteban beforehand, to make sure that if we he 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’re professionals and they have no issue working together, and hopefully, the friendship will rekindle.”

He added, “They were friends at one point, but from a professional perspective, they’re both happy to work with each other.”

Things have already started to look better between the two, with Ocon posting several pictures of the two on his social media channels.

On Twitter, he said, “We were just two little kids from Normandy with an impossible dream. Welcome to the Alpine family Pierrot, let’s make our team and our country proud.”

He also posted a video of the two on his TikTok.

https://twitter.com/F1/status/1578748296700383233
Why was Gasly the chosen one?

Following the announcement of Sebastian Vettel’s retirement, silly season really kicked off.

Fernando Alonso confirmed that he would be taking the four-time world champion’s place at Aston Martin. Alpine assumed that Oscar Piastri would fill the two-time world champion’s seat; however, McLaren seemed like a better option for the Australian.

So they were left with a mission to find a new driver. Gasly has been on the team’s radar for quite some time, with rumours of the Frenchman joining Alpine circulating around the paddock for over a month. However, it was not as easy as it seemed.

Gasly had already signed a contract extension with AlphaTauri, so he could not leave the Red Bull sister team without them securing another driver. Luckily, Nyck de Vries stepped in after impressing on his Formula 1 debut with Williams in Monza, even earning points.

As Szafnauer further explained, “It was maybe a week or so [after Alonso’s announcement]. When it looked like Oscar wasn’t 100 percent certain with some of the contractual issues that we had, then we started working on a shortlist of who else it could be, and Pierre was on it. We had some criteria to work to, and the three things we wanted was naturally speed: a fast driver; one with experience, and also youth at the same time.

“Adding all three things up, there aren’t many people that have all that and Pierre definitely does. We thought he was a great fit for us, so we put him on our shortlist and then went about getting it done. So, we’re fortunate to secure Pierre and look forward to working with him.”

Featured Image Credit: Formula 1

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