Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon share a frosty relationship at Alpine, as the two drivers have come to blows in recent weeks.
The Spaniard suggested after the Mexican Grand Prix that there is favouritism as “once again car number fourteen stops,” following his retirement in Mexico City.
While the 41-year-old has experienced more than his fair share of mechanical failures this season, both Alpine and Ocon were quick to rubbish these claims, with the French driver reminding Alonso of all the problems he has also encountered this season.
The pair qualified well for the sprint race in Brazil, but an incident between the two saw them plummet down the order and begin the main race on Sunday from the bottom quarter of the starting grid.
Alonso was penalised by the FIA for attempting a move on his teammate which saw him make contact with Ocon and lose his own front wing, however the Spaniard took to the team radio to blame the Frenchman, telling his engineer that he lost his wing “thanks to our friend.”
The main event went a lot more smoothly for the team as Alonso came home to take P5 after taking advantage of a couple of well-timed safety cars, but Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has still made sure to remind his drivers of how they are expected to conduct themselves.
“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 last weekend,” he said.
“So I reminded them of that fact and I reminded them of the fact I have plenty of drivers that are longing to race in their place.
“It would have been a shame to finish the year with two other drivers, even if it costs me a lot. They took heed of their responsibility and they did a brilliant job.
“So it happens to everyone I guess. This is what makes those drivers incredible champions, that these killer instincts… sometimes it goes a bit too far. So that’s my role as well, to bring them back into a better space.”
With Ocon and Alonso starting eighth and eleventh on the grid for the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, the team will be in with a tough battle to keep McLaren at bay in the championship, with both of their drivers making it into Q3.
Alpine have a 19 point advantage over McLaren going into the final race, so while a comeback looks unlikely for Zak Brown’s team, anything is possible in F1, especially in Abu Dhabi.