Alpine will be hoping for a less eventful weekend in Abu Dhabi to wrap up the season than they experienced in Brazil, where team principal Otmar Szafnauer was forced to publicly shame his drivers.
Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso have been the best of friends and the worst of enemies during their two years together at Alpine, with it seemingly boiled over at Interlagos.
Last Saturday’s sprint race saw the Alpine duo involved in two collisions on the opening lap alone, with the second of the two having been particularly scary.
The first incident occurred at Turn Four where Alonso was forced wide by Ocon, due to the Frenchman remaining on the inside of the 41-year-old.
Alonso slid over the kerbs and almost crashed into the side of his team-mate, something which likely infuriated the double World Champion.
Not much longer and the two were at it again, after Alonso hit Ocon down the start/finish straight as a result of pulling out of the slipstream far too late, resulting in his front-wing hitting Ocon’s right-rear tyre.
Whilst it was Alonso who was at fault, the Spaniard lashed out after the race, insisting it’d happened “several times”.
“I was very close to the wall in Jeddah, close to the wall in Budapest, today in turn 4,” Alonso said at Interlagos a week ago.
“Last year it was several times.
“This is the way things are. Yeah – one more race.”
Szafnauer admitted after the sprint that had it been “anyone else”, then they would’ve been sacked for “serious misconduct”, something he revealed Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi told the drivers.
“Laurent Rossi told them that if anyone else in the Alpine team had behaved like this, they would have been fired for serious misconduct,” he is quoted by RMC.
Alonso failed to take much notice from the slapped wrist, with the Spanish driver firmly set now on getting out of Alpine and into Aston Martin.
The veteran didn’t see why he should apologise to the team when asked by the media if he had done so, with Alonso simply ready to leave the Enstone-based outfit.
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” said the Spaniard.
“There’s nothing to say.
“I only have one race left, next year will be a different year. He (Ocon) will have a different teammate and the management will have a new driver. Suits me.”
Given his age and the dynamic between himself and Ocon, it is understandable why he’s so eager to just get stuck into work at Aston Martin.
Alonso revealed that it is definitely “time for a new challenge”, after feeling “not satisfied” at the French side.
“Two years ago I had some concerns when I returned, last year I was not convinced and this year I am not satisfied,” he said.
“It’s time for a new challenge.”
Following Alonso’s criticism of Ocon, the Frenchman appeared to be slightly taken aback by it all, after believing the pair had been “getting along very well”.
He added that the comments directed at him didn’t “affect” him, with the driver simply stating that he was “surprised” by his team-mate.
“We have been getting along very well for two years,” Ocon told RMC Sport.
“I was a little surprised to see his comments to the press, especially since I am someone who prefers to speak in person. But that’s how it is.
“It doesn’t affect me.”
Reflecting on the second incident, Ocon admitted that it was a “bad moment”; however, the driver interestingly commented that it wasn’t him “who was penalised”, thus directing the fault at Alonso.
“It was a bad moment,” he said.
“And he was the one who was penalised despite everything he said. We are so close in each race that it happens.
“I don’t think it was very useful to criticise me so much.”