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Formula One

30th May 2024

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon faces ‘dark side’ of F1 with potential bench for Canada

Sophie Collins

Esteban Ocon, Monaco

Esteban Ocon is under threat of being benched for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Ocon found himself at the centre of controversy during the Monaco Grand Prix after a collision with his Alpine teammate, Pierre Gasly, on the opening lap at Portier.

The collision caused Ocon’s car to lift off the ground and it ultimately ended his race.

This incident provoked a strong reaction from Alpine team boss Bruno Famin, who hinted at “consequences” for Ocon, leading to media speculation that he could be sidelined for the upcoming race in Canada.

This situation arises at a critical time for both Ocon and Gasly, as their contracts with Alpine expire at the end of the 2024 season.

Ocon reflected on his uncertain future following the Monte Carlo race and referred to the potential of being benched as part of Formula 1’s “dark side”.

He is keen to avoid a repeat of 2018 when he was dropped from Racing Point in favour of Lance Stroll – after Lawrence Stroll’s acquisition of the team.

Ocon returned to the F1 grid in 2020 with Renault

Speaking to the media about whether recent changes at Alpine, such as the appointment of new executive technical director David Sanchez, might influence his decision to stay, Ocon told “We’ll see. In Formula 1, you know how it is, how things can change quickly. But the important thing is to be secure as early as possible. That is a clear target of mine, as always.”

Ocon emphasised his determination to secure his place in F1, and spoke of his past performance and contributions to the sport.

“I don’t want to pay the price a second time, like at the end of 2018, which was not a good memory and it was not for performance reasons. I think I’m doing a good job again this year and for the years that I’ve been in F1. I deserve to have a place in F1. We’ll see.”

He expressed his ongoing commitment to Alpine but acknowledged the harsh realities of the sport.

“At the moment, my head is fully into this team, fully dedicated, like I’ve been in the project for years, that is very clear.

“But in Formula 1, it’s quite a dark side, you know, that path, and not the one that I’ve ever enjoyed. So as soon as it will be done, the better it will be.”

If Ocon is benched, Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan could potentially make his F1 debut in Canada.

For more F1 content, check out Straight to the Grid


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