Enemies to friends? The truth about the Gasly-Ocon relationship

Pierre Gasly admitted having “ups and downs” with new teammate Esteban Ocon in a tumultuous relationship which must not turn “toxic” next season.
Pierre Gasly (FRA), Alpine F1 Team
Pierre Gasly (FRA), Alpine F1 Team

Alpine will pair French duo Gasly and Ocon together in the F1 2023 driver line-up, after recruiting Gasly from AlphaTauri.

The pair were childhood friends in their karting days but had some personal issues that led to animosity as they worked their way up the junior categories. 

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“I know they like to sell this story,” said Gasly to Channel 4. “For me, it’s no secret that we’ve had our ups and downs in our relationship but he’s the guy I’ve known the longest, for 20 years. 

"We grew up together and I think we’ve cleared a lot of dust since we arrived in F1. Things are going well now and I don’t see any reason why they should not go well now. 

“At the end of the day, it kind of makes me laugh because the media is really focusing on this story and trying to push it. 

“Just look down the pit lane, you have rivalries inside every team. The most important thing is to have a healthy one, as long as it doesn’t become toxic. 

“It’s not new to anyone that you have a rivalry inside a team, but you’ve both got to be mature enough and smart enough to push the team forward. 

“When it comes to the track everyone tries their best but have got to stay respectful. I see all the articles and people would like to push on that story, but I’m not really worried for that.” 

(L to R): Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team; Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team; and Mick
(L to R): Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1…

Can Alpine challenge the big three?

“It’s definitely exciting,” Gasly said of his Alpine switch. “It’s the first time for me that I’ve completely changed environments. 

“I’ve been at Red Bull my entire career in F1. Now I’m completely leaving, closing this chapter, and starting a new one with Alpine. 

“Obviously I’m extremely happy, excited and also proud to join the biggest French manufacturer. Seeing the progress they have had over the last few years, I definitely believe there are amazing things we can achieve together. 

“They’ve had fantastic drivers in the last couple of years, Carlos went there, Daniel went there and Fernando went there. You can really see they developed the team in the right direction. 

“I can’t wait to join forces with them, partner with Esteban and try to keep pushing that team forward and take them to the next level.”

Asked what championship position he would be happy with at the end of his first season with Alpine, Gasly responded: “Based on their results this year, I would say minimum top of the midfield. But hopefully we can be challenging for podiums. 

“They’ve been the fourth strongest team on the grid this season. The next target is the top three, the big three ahead of us. I truly believe its possible. They’ve made huge progress over the last couple of years. 

“They definitely have some speed and if they make another step on the car for next season I believe we could definitely be strong challengers for the top five and top three.” 

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