Alpine issue statement on ‘problem’ between Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin has addressed Pierre Gasly's recent outburst at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The incident arose as Gasly, who had out-qualified his Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon, found himself swapping positions with Ocon during the race due to team orders.

Ocon had been forced to pit under the Safety Car during the opening lap of the race after sustaining a puncture at the start. 

However, he managed to move ahead of Gasly during the latter’s first stint on the medium tires. 

As the race entered its final stages, both drivers were in pursuit of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, with Alpine hoping that Gasly’s fresher tires would provide a better chance of overtaking Alonso.

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The team instructed the drivers to swap positions to maximise their chances, but Gasly was unable to catch Alonso and was then asked to relinquish the position back to Ocon on the final lap. 

Gasly was visibly upset by this request, as it had not been discussed as part of the team’s pre-race strategy.

Ocon maintained that the swap-back manoeuvre was a standard procedure and had been part of Alpine’s policy for years, labelling Gasly’s reaction as a “complete joke.”

Famin clarified that there were no lingering issues between Gasly and Ocon despite the incident. 

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He explained, “We don’t have any problem between the drivers. 

“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.”

Famin also justified the team’s decision, saying, “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.”

However, Gasly’s perspective differed from the team’s explanation. He expressed his frustration, saying, “It was never said that we would need to invert again because I was always in front. 

“For the team, it’s the same – ninth and tenth – but it’s definitely not something I expected, and not really something I understand.”

Famin acknowledged that there may have been communication issues and suggested that the team needed to clarify when and how the information was conveyed to Gasly. 

He mentioned potential problems with radio signal quality and driver focus as contributing factors to the miscommunication.

Despite Gasly’s public frustration over the radio and his demeanour in the cockpit after the race, Famin downplayed the incident, describing it as a natural reaction from a competitive driver. 

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He stated, “They are fighters, just right after the race, they are disappointed, it’s normal. 

“We can talk for hours about the way he did it. 

“But I’m just convinced it’s an epiphenomenon.”