Alpine would have hoped for a smoother weekend in Sao Paulo, with stellar recovery drives from Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon helping the team to overhaul a tough sprint race.
Ocon and Alonso qualified P6 and P7 respectively but started Sunday’s race from P17 and P18 after an early collision between the two drivers saw them tumble down the order.
The pair came very close to contact at Turn 3 and then Alonso was forced onto the kerb at Turn 4, where he eventually did make contact with his teammate.
Alonso was furious about the incident, telling his race engineer that he lost his front wing “thanks to our friend.”
The stewards actually deemed the Spaniard guilty for the incident and slapped him with a five-second penalty, but this did not stop Alonso’s anger and he told reporters after the race that he is counting down the days until his affiliation with Alpine ends.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer has told reporters that his drivers have been reminded of their responsibilities and given a stern telling off following the sprint race incident.
“Yeah, you have to point out to them that it’s unacceptable to come together when you’ve got over 1000 people between Enstone and Viry working tirelessly to make sure we finish fourth in the championship, bringing upgrades, working Saturdays, Sundays, making sure the car is as competitive as it can be, and the mechanics here too,” he explained.
“And to have that silliness on track where you just run unto each other, push your teammate wide, not let them by, especially when it’s so close in the championship – I think the message got through, and we did a good job today.”
Alonso took advantage of well-timed safety cars during the main race on Sunday to recover to fifth, a mammoth effort considering the fact that he started the race from the bottom quarter of the grid.
The Spaniard has made it very clear that he is looking forward to seeing the back of Alpine, after a plethora of mechanical failures have seen Alonso retire from nearly a quarter of the races this year, often denying him a large haul of points.
The two-time world champion will be replacing the retiring Sebastian Vettel next year at Aston Martin, claiming that the team will be aiming to win titles in the next couple of seasons despite currently sitting seventh in the championship.
Alpine will be replacing Alonso with Pierre Gasly, to complete an all French line-up as they plan for the future.