Alpine boss: Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon ‘let the team down’

Tensions have flared up between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon once again.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer was left bitterly disappointed by both of his drivers following the Brazilian Grand Prix sprint race, after the duo decided to put themselves before the “tirelessly working” Alpine employees.

Tensions have been building between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon all season, with the duo having fought one another incredibly hard at certain races in 2022.

Previously, the duo have stated their enjoyment at battling with each other; however, a line has certainly been crossed between the two.

The duo collided not once, but twice on the opening lap of the sprint race at Interlagos, with neither appearing prepared to budge for the other.

READ: Max Verstappen’s hilarious reaction to Sky Sports return after boycott

Alonso and Ocon’s first collision came at Turn Four, where the Frenchman dived down the inside of the Spaniard, which resulted in the 41-year-old having no room on the exit of the corner.

He went over the kerbs as a result where he suffered a huge moment, where the rear of his A522 dramatically snapped out on him, resulting in lightning reactions from the double World Champion.

Had he not corrected his rear tyres lighting up, then he would’ve crashed straight into the side of Ocon.

Moments later, though, the duo were at it again on the start/finish straight, where Alonso had a beautiful tow from Ocon.

Article continues below

The veteran driver pulled out of the slipstream far too late, a huge surprise given his wealth of experience.

It resulted in the Spaniard’s front-wing making contact with Ocon’s right-rear, unsurprisingly resulting in a new wing being needed.

A forced pit-stop for a new front-wing for Alonso following the collision made Szafnauer aware that “unless there is a safety car Fernando’s race is over”.

After the race, Ocon stated that he didn’t see himself as at fault for the initial incident at Turn Four, due to “trying to attack the McLarens”.

“I was in the front so the one fighting is not me,” said Ocon of the incident.

“I was trying to attack the McLarens.”

The FIA judged the costly incident on the start/finish straight as Alonso’s fault, interestingly, which resulted in the Spanish driver being awarded a five-place grid penalty and two penalty points, meaning he’ll start Sunday’s race from P18 as a result.

Szafnauer explained after the race that Alonso’s and Ocon’s selfishness “let the team down”, with McLaren now just five points behind the Enstone-based team going into the traditional race.

READ: ‘Never my sole identity’: Sebastian Vettel opens up on his personal life

He insisted that the pair “must do a better job” for the “1,000 staff” who are striving to give the drivers everything possible to claim fourth in the Constructors’, something that comes with a significant financial reward for the French side.

“We are in a very tight and competitive championship fight for fourth place… an objective for which over 1,000 staff are tirelessly working and striving towards,” the Romanian-American said during a press conference.

“Frankly, both Esteban and Fernando must do a better job to compliment the fantastic efforts of everyone in the team by avoiding on-track incidents and compromising the entire team’s performance.

“Today, both drivers have let the team down.”