Esteban Ocon denies Alpine F1 exit is ‘punishment’ for Pierre Gasly clash

Esteban Ocon insists his crash with Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly in Monaco had no bearing on his F1 future.

Esteban Ocon (FRA), Alpine F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Preparation
Esteban Ocon (FRA), Alpine F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9,…

Esteban Ocon has dismissed the suggestion that his departure from the Alpine F1 team is in any way linked to his incident with teammate Pierre Gasly in Monaco.

Ocon crashed into Gasly on the opening lap of the Monaco Grand Prix, a collision which angered Alpine team principal Bruno Famin and led to speculation that the Frenchman could be benched for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Earlier this week, and eight days after the coming together, Alpine announced that Ocon will leave the team when his contract expires at the end of the year after five seasons at Enstone.

Asked if he was being ‘punished’ by Alpine and whether what happened in Monaco had influenced the decision, Ocon told Sky Sports F1: “Not really. Not at all. A group like Renault doesn’t take decisions on single moments like that.”

Instead, Ocon insisted his split from Alpine was a mutual decision which followed months of talks.

“For us, it was important that we’ve discussed for several months and decided together not to continue. It’s been no secret that we’ve been talking with Alpine and other teams as well,” he said.

“I spent five years with this team, achieving great things and having some more difficult moments as well. But I am proud of what I achieved with this team and it’s time for me to have other, exciting challenges.

“I think it was definitely the right time to decide to end our relationship together.”

Asked if there was any truth to the rumours that Famin had threatened to bench him for Canada, Ocon replied: “You can ask the team but I am not aware of these things. I have prepared the same way to race in Canada.”

Meanwhile, Gasly carefully selected his words when he was asked for his views on the news in Thursday’s FIA press conference in Montreal.

“It’s been… I’m just taking time to think because I know how you guys will take every single word that comes out,” he said.

"It’s a long story between Esteban and myself and I think so far in the last one and a half years we managed to work and cooperate very professionally, this is important to mention.

“It hasn’t always been easy as you would imagine from two very competitive drivers, but considering the story between us I think it’s been good, so, yeah. I would stick to these lines.”

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