The Alpine F1 Team are on the verge of a potentially tricky situation, with the team having been rumoured to be interested in signing Frenchman Pierre Gasly to replace Fernando Alonso next season.
Dr Helmut Marko has said that Gasly is free to leave Scuderia AlphaTauri, as long as Alpine pay out his 2023 contract which was signed not too long ago.
Whilst it would be the French dream for the only French F1 team to have an all-French driver line-up, it could well prove to be a nightmare situation for the Enstone-based team.
Esteban Ocon and Gasly used to be very good friends growing up; however, this friendship has turned into rivalry over recent years, meaning that the team dynamic between the two would be highly questionable if the pair were to team up.
Gasly was asked at the recent Belgian Grand Prix if there is any truth in the Alpine rumours, with the Frenchman failing to give an answer on if an offer has been sent.
“At the moment I don’t really want to make too many comments because I haven’t seen anything,” Gasly said.
“The most important is to perform with the car that I have, and then we’ll see.”
Gasly’s and Ocon’s relationship is a fascinating one, especially given how close they were growing up.
The 26-year-old puts the end of their friendship down to him starting to beat the Alpine driver, with Ocon apparently having become upset.
Gasly does think the pair still “respect each other”, but that their relationship goes no further.
“When we were like nine, 10 years old we used to go testing in karting when it was snowing, do five laps then come in because it was so cold. Go out on the track together, trying to get warm and then go back on track for three or four more laps.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together but it got to a point where he got a bit too upset and it wasn’t so nice anymore. So we kind of stopped [socialising]. Then after we always [had] quite a lot of rivalry. I think we respect each other as drivers.
“I started to beat him and he didn’t like it so we’re not friends any more.”
Ocon is reportedly keen on Mick Schumacher to replace Alonso and not Gasly, with the Alpine driver being “good friends” with the German.
He supposedly “completely” trusts that Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi and team principal Otmar Szafnauer will make the right decision, for both him and the team.