Gasly opens up on Ocon relationship, admits he knew pairing “would not be easy"

Pierre Gasly has opened up on what his relationship with Alpine F1 teammate Esteban Ocon is really like, having admitted he knew the pairing “would not be easy”. 

When Gasly’s move to Alpine was announced immediate attention was placed on whether the pair could work together despite their cool personal relationship. 

The Frenchmen were childhood friends and karting rivals but relations turned rocky after a well-documented falling out. 

Speaking on F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast, Gasly revealed how the pair have put the past behind them, even if - as he acknowledged - “Esteban won’t invite me for dinner”. 

“I knew that it would not be easy,” Gasly said. “But at the same time I knew that we had grown up a lot. 

“I was a little worried about how he would welcome me and work with me. I’ve known Esteban since a long time, so I know how we work. 

“We have different personalities; we’re just two different types of people, but ultimately I think we’ve been working really well. I think we understood the responsibility.

“My main concern was to work well with him, to make sure that we extract the maximum of the car, maximum out of the team, and that we are both pushing in the same direction. 

“There’s always going to be a healthy rivalry, one wanting to beat the other. But what I care about the most is that this doesn't impact the evolution of the team and the evolution of the car.

“We don't spend much time together, but when we get to the track, then we are at work. We are mature, responsible and we are delivering… In terms of a working relationship, it's very formal between us, but that's all I can ask because at the end of the day, I just want to be competitive. 

“I know Esteban won't invite me for dinner, but I'm fine with that.” 

Pierre Gasly (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14,
Pierre Gasly (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1…

The only major flashpoint involving the pair so far this season occurred at the Australian Grand Prix, when Gasly and Ocon came to blows, ending the race for both drivers. 

“Honestly, it was tough,” Gasly said as he reflected on their clash in Melbourne. 

“We talked things out. We went to Paris and had a chat with Laurent Rossi. He had his opinion, I had mine, it felt like he could have backed out of it, but he didn’t and in the end we moved on, shook hands. We agreed between team mates we’ve got to take slightly more margin.

“I had no idea he was there. Could he have done things differently? Probably, but it didn’t happen and in the end that’s the way it was. We were fine, we just moved on, and focussed on our job to get the best out of it for the following races.

"I know for my team to perform, they need to work in a healthy environment. There cannot be an unhealthy rivalry between the drivers. 

“That's something I'm aware of and something I'm really trying to be careful with, also personally managing Esteban and the way that we interact. If Esteban is not welcoming me into his own bubble, then fine, if that’s his way of working.

“I know I'll get more out of him by pushing the team in the direction that I need him to push the team in. That's why I'm completely fine with the relationship we have. I think it works well. 

“I need my space, he needs his space, and everyone respects that. I think we both have a lot of respect for the drivers that we are. At the end of the day, I want to win. He wants to win. We’ve got to be hand in hand to make it happen.”

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