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Alpine F1 Team Boss Says Alonso and Ocon are Free to Race Each Other, But There’s a Catch

In the early stages of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Alpine drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon went at each other as if they were Hamilton and Verstappen, jockeying for position. During those moments, team principal Otmar Szafnauer could be seen on the pit wall with his head in his hands.
Alpine F1 Team during 2022 F1 season 6 photos
Alpine F1 Team during 2022 F1 seasonAlpine F1 Team during 2022 F1 seasonAlpine F1 Team during 2022 F1 seasonAlpine F1 Team during 2022 F1 seasonAlpine F1 Team during 2022 F1 season
When quizzed about his reaction, Szafnauer said that his main concern was that his drivers were losing ground to the cars behind, which is exactly what happened as both Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen were able to join the fight.

As Bottas closed the gap to Ocon, the French driver was told to “hold station” in an effort by Alpine to keep their cars ahead of the Alfa Romeo. Ocon was also asked to lift off the throttle and coast in order to bring temperatures down.

Unfortunately for the French outfit, Bottas quickly managed to pass Ocon and split the Alpines, which is how things stayed until the Alfa Romeo was forced to pit with a temperature issue.

In the end, while Alonso retired with a loss of drive, Ocon finished P6, holding off Lando Norris on the very last lap.

“It was clean, it’s what the fans want to see,” said Szafnauer as quoted by Motorsport. “And we told them at the beginning we’ll allow them to race. I mean, the only reason I did this [head in hands] was we were losing a little bit more time than I anticipated.”

The team principal went on to say that Alpine will now factor in any potential time loss to cars behind whenever its drivers are battling each other.

“The only thing we’ve got to do is now assess what DRS does with these cars, because you can follow a lot closer,” he added. “Before it was really easy to break the DRS train, and then off you went. So, we just have to assess that.”

As for what happened with Bottas joining the fight against his drivers, the Alpine boss had this to say:

“That’s exactly what we’ve got to look at, losing time only because it was so easy to continue to overtake here. And I think that’s something new. When do we tell them to not start overtaking each other? Because it does cost you time. So that is exactly the trade-off.”

Alpine are currently fourth in the Constructors Championship with 16 points, just 4 points ahead of Haas.

 
 
 
 
 

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