Alpine’s Esteban Ocon has taken to Twitter to explain his participation in a promotional video together with Alpine and France’s Gendarmerie.
The French police service are taking in 26 Alpine A110 cars for use as rapid intervention vehicles, and the Frenchman was on hand to get behind the wheel and advertise the partnership.
In the video posted on Twitter, Ocon can be seen driving the car through winding forest roads, before pulling up at a police station car park and performing some doughnuts.
As he stops and climbs out, he gets out of the car alongside Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi, and the pair are met by two police officers, whom they hand the keys over to.
The 25-year-old tweeted: “They gave me the title of chief driving officer. Starting the year right! Enjoy Gendarmerie! Happy 2022 everyone!”
The car was painted in police colours, which prompted an irritable response from some on Twitter.
Many considered this performance to be as a waste of taxpayer’s money, but Ocon confirmed on Twitter that the shoot had been paid for by Renault’s sports brand.
In response to the criticism he and his team have received since the video, Ocon was forced to once again jump onto Twitter to say: “After reading some tweets, I want to clarify that I was at the wheel of the A110 Gendarmerie for a promotional shooting organised by Alpine.”
Ocon ended the 2021 Formula 1 season 11th in the Drivers’ Championship, one position and seven points behind team-mate Fernando Alonso, who returned to the sport last year following two seasons away from Formula 1.
He claimed a famous victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix midway through 2021 following a thrilling race that involved Valtteri Bottas wiping out both Red Bull drivers, before a strategy miscalculation by Mercedes meant that Sir Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second place.