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The Problem With Ocon’s Future

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team celebrates his third position on the podium. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Sunday 28th May 2023. Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Source: Alpine Renault F1 Team)

Esteban Ocon (FRA) from the Alpine F1 Team celebrates his third position on the podium at the Formula 1 World Championship Round 7 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday 28th May 2023. (Photo: Alpine Renault F1 Team)

Alpine and Esteban Ocon recently announced that they will be parting ways at the end of the 2024 season.

After five years and three podiums, one of them being a win, the French driver leaves the team in tumultuous circumstances. The announcement of his departure was released after his Monaco “mistake” which almost cost him and his teammate, Pierre Gasly, the race. However, this was not the first time Ocon had seen himself involved in a crash with a teammate.

Going back to 2017 when Ocon joined Formula 1 with Force India, partnering up with former vice-champion Sergio Perez, their relationship seemed peaceful at first. That was until that year’s Canadian Grand Prix, in which the feud between the teammates started after Perez did not let Ocon, who believed he was faster, pass him. After that, it was absolute chaos.

At Azerbaijan, Ocon shoved Perez against a wall. They made contact in Hungary, clashed twice at the Belgian Grand Prix and Singapore after the Frenchman tried going around the outside of the Mexican’s car. This feud ended with Ocon losing his seat at the end of 2018.

In 2020, the French driver found his way back into F1 with Renault and stayed with them through their transition into Alpine in 2021. Fernando Alonso, two-time F1 world champion with Renault, joined the team to partner up with Ocon. Alonso showed that he was willing to be a team player after he put up a strong defense against Lewis Hamilton to help his teammate get his first win in the sport.

Alonso was expecting the same from his teammate but was taken by surprise after being blocked by Ocon at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, where problems started showing. At Jeddah, Ocon almost shoved Alonso into the wall and at Brazil, they clashed in the first session of the Sprint qualifying. This led to the Frenchman opening his team radio to call his teammate a “f****** idiot”.

After the sprint, Alonso had the chance to hit back at Ocon for his comments. When questioned about them, he told Soymotor, “Yes, I heard what that guy said. He’s still very immature and hasn’t changed his way of seeing things, but hey, there are other things that don’t change either. He came out behind me like last year and stayed there, like last year.

“So it’s all normal. Whenever there is an Alpine, you have to be extra careful. We touched entering Turn 6… they must think our car is narrower than it really is, and I ended up in the grass again.”

After all these feuds with his former teammates, he now finds himself in a new one with his current teammate. Gasly and Ocon have clashed on multiple occasions, but the pivotal point, according to the spectators, was the crash at the Monaco Grand Prix. Ocon tried to make an ambitious move on Gasly, which led to almost terminating both of their races. This move infuriated team boss, Burno Famin, who tried to replace Ocon for the next race but could not follow through due to legal reasons.

Ocon now finds himself with an uncertain future in the sport once again. He has been the prospect for many seats as he is a fast and hard-working driver, but his recent lack of professionalism has him on a thin line.

Above all else, Esteban Ocon celebrates his inaugural Formula 1 victory at the Hungaroring. (Photo: Mark Thompson | Getty Images Europe)

Esteban Ocon celebrates his inaugural Formula 1 victory at the Hungaroring. (Photo: Mark Thompson | Getty Images Europe)

Famin highlighted this when speaking to SkyF1 about how his priority was not finding drivers who get along, but drivers who are “professional”.

“I think the relationship doesn’t matter. The professionalism matters. We need professional drivers.

“They need to work together. It’s part of the job to be able to work with his team-mate to get the best for the team,” Famin added.

When asked about his future, Ocon told the media, “You never know in Formula 1 what the future can lie. But as I said, I’m excited for future challenges. I’ve got 15 more races to do and it’s important to do a good job and coming to the races motivated as I’ve always been and enjoy what I do.

“For sure, my target is to be in Formula 1, that is very clear. That’s where I enjoy to be.”

Ocon has proven to be a capable driver. He has achieved outstanding results, such as his 2023 podium at Monaco and his win at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix. But recently, all of these achievements seem to be overshadowed by his mistakes. It is just a matter of time before Ocon’s future in the sport is made clear.

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