Interim Alpine team principal Bruno Famin has insisted that there isn’t any “tension” between Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, following last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Gasly was left absolutely furious with the French team after last Sunday’s race, due to having been instructed on the final lap to relinquish P9 to Ocon.
The ex-AlphaTauri driver had started the race at Suzuka ahead of Ocon but fell behind his team-mate after being undercut.
However, when Gasly caught Ocon, Alpine inverted the duos positions, to allow Gasly to make the most of his fresher tyres and to see if he could catch Fernando Alonso.
Gasly failed to catch the two-time World Champion and was therefore told by the Enstone-based team to give Ocon the place back, something he reluctantly did.
As he crossed the line, Gasly threw his hands in the air in anger, with him having been furious with the team’s decision.
Despite Gasly’s clear annoyance at the decision, Famin insists that asking him to give the place was back is “very normal” and that it hasn’t created any issues between the two French drivers.
“We don’t have any problem between the drivers,” Famin said, as reported by Motorsport Week.
“I think it’s [because] they are all fighting for having their own best results, which is normal and what they are paid for. But they are also paid for having the best team results.
“Of course, with the stress of the race, we may have some declarations [that are potentially] a bit strong, but I have absolutely no doubt about the drivers being on the same line together.
“For having the best team result, we left Pierre in front of Esteban to have the possibility – even if it was small – of trying to catch Fernando. This was not possible so to swap back is very normal.”
Gasly’s anger carried over into the media pen, where he informed several media outlets that he would talk to Alpine internally about why he was told to give up the position.
Famin admits that there is a possibility that communication gremlins were at play during the Japanese GP, something which he insists will be checked to ensure Gasly was given the correct information.
“This is the point we need to check to be totally transparent,” Famin continued.
“I don’t know when it has been said, and that is the point we need to clarify. Sometimes we have communication problems because the line [radio signal] is not so good.
“Or sometimes the engineer thinks they are clear when they say something, but maybe sometimes the driver doesn’t record it because he is focused on something else.
“We need to check whether the driver received well the information. But anyway, the manoeuvre was done in the interests of the team, and I have absolutely no doubt that both drivers agree with that.
“If we have to do it a bit differently the other way [around] during the coming races, they will do it. They know that, and there is no tension. It is just execution of the race.”