Alpine CEO ‘Would Not Let Anyone Say’ Sainz Is Faster Than Ocon

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has admitted that Esteban Ocon is not “guaranteed World Champion material”, but he believes he is at least on par with Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

Speaking to BBC Sport this week, Rossi said he considers Ocon to be a “really good” driver and said that “signing him is basically taking almost zero risk.”

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Continuing, he said: “He might not be guaranteed world champion material. Who can be dubbed this way? Not many drivers at the moment.

“I would not let anyone say he is a lesser driver than Carlos [Sainz of Ferrari] or any of the so-called second drivers of the top teams.

“So at the very least I have myself an excellent second driver, and I frankly think he has all it takes to become a top driver.”

Rossi revealed that two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso is on course to stay with the team next year, as they already have an option to extend his contract to cover 2022.

As for Alonso’s future at Alpine beyond 2022, Rossi said it is too soon for them to both commit that far ahead. 

He added that “it will be a rich man’s problem if at the end of 2022 I have the likes of [Alpine young drivers Oscar] Piastri [and Guanyu] Zhou knocking at the door and at the same time Fernando winning race after race. 

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“At least I have those options,” he added.

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