Ahead of Alpine and Ocon’s home race at the French Grand Prix, it was announced that a bumper new contract extension had been agreed to keep Ocon at the Enstone-based outfit until the end of 2024.

Ocon is the latest driver to secure his future in F1 on a long-term deal, following similar arrangements for the likes of Max Verstappen at Red Bull, Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

The decision to re-sign Ocon was described as a “no-brainer” by Rossi, who also said the 24-year-old “reminds me a lot” of former Renault driver Prost.

“First off he’s a great fine-tuner, it reminds me a lot of Alain [Prost], actually,” Rossi explained. “He is very good at extracting the maximum out of the car and it shows, he’s constantly improving.

“He is damn fast too, give him any car he’s fast, he shows it every quali. So that makes him a very good driver first off.

“He’s a good team-mate, not just to the other driver, it’s also to the rest of the team. He is basically pushing everyone up, and it shows. So, he’s a great guy to have in the team.

“And then beyond the F1 driver, he’s a great guy. He’s humble, very generous with his time, constantly giving his time even to us in the larger Alpine construct. He always offers to chime in to the development of the new cars or the brand awareness type of work.

“So, it’s really good to have him around. That’s also why we signed him for three years.”


Alpine was keen to tie down Ocon - who will continue to be managed by Mercedes - to avoid a repeat of the situation that unfolded with Daniel Ricciardo, who upset the team when he left after just two years to join midfield rivals McLaren.

“We’ve seen enough of Esteban, we know he’s good and I don’t want to be yet again looking for another driver after two years,” Rossi said.

“The recent past showed that it never really turns the right way, if you have a good driver, you want to keep him. It’s good for us and for him.

“We have a long way to make progress, it buys into the project and lends credibility to our project. For me it’s also a guarantee that we are going to perform in the driver department.

“Esteban is arguably a top-10 driver minimum, so we don’t make a big mistake here. For me, it’s a no-brainer. It’s part of a long journey and Esteban fits into that mould quite well.”

Asked if Alpine views Ocon in the same bracket as the likes of Verstappen and Leclerc, Rossi replied: “Yes, I see Esteban having that potential. He needs to fulfil it, but I see him having that potential.

“When he was younger, he raced against all the guys mentioned and consistently, I wouldn’t say beat them all the time, but was competitive at the same level.

“I wouldn’t see why he would not be able to be a match, and actually showing it every single qualification. Bar the first four that have arguably a faster car, the rest is usually more of a driving performance, and he’s consistently getting very high on the ranking.

“So for me, yes, he has a lot of potential that we want to unpack, unfold, at Alpine.”