Contact and fire - Woes stacking up for Alpine in Brazil

Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

Contact and fire - Woes stacking up for Alpine in Brazil

Formula 1

Contact and fire - Woes stacking up for Alpine in Brazil


Esteban Ocon’s car caught fire after the sprint at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, adding to Alpine’s problems following his collision with team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Alonso was unhappy at Ocon’s driving as they battled at Turn 4 early in the sprint, and then the Spaniard hit the rear of his teammate’s car on the run to the finish line later in the lap, breaking his own front wing. That led to a pit stop that dropped Alonso to the back of the field but he still caught and passed an ailing Ocon, who was classified 18th before his car then caught fire in parc ferme.

“The only thing I’m thinking about is how unfortunate it is for the team,” Ocon said. “And how well we qualified yesterday and how we are at the back today. We need to be working all together to be fighting through the field tomorrow because it’s going to be crucial to score some points.

“I had a good launch. I was trying to fight with the McLarens in front, trying to go down the inside of Norris. It was a bit tight so I backed out of it, released the brake and took my corner into Turn 4, Fernando was on the outside, we touched and from there on my race was over.

“The sidepod is completely open,” the Frenchman continued. “I don’t know how it didn’t fly off. And the car was on fire as well, so I hope at the end there was not more damage.

“I left the car, I did a couple of steps, I went up to the scale and then I saw a car on fire. I thought it was the Williams, but no, it was mine…the whole bodywork is damaged, that’s for sure. I don’t know what the consequences are going to be.”

With both drivers summoned to the stewards over the collision, Ocon says he wasn’t even aware Alonso had hit him.

“I had no idea this happened (on the straight). I got told now. I don’t know how that’s possible.”

While Alonso had been frustrated on team radio during the race, he says he is encouraged by the pace he showed and believes he can recover to score points on Sunday.

“I’ve been very close to the wall honestly this year,” Alonso said. “A few occasions in Jeddah, in Budapest I remember as well last year. It seems that when we start too close there is this defending racing. It is the way it is. Nothing we can do — we tried to do the best, both of us. Unfortunately today it didn’t work so let’s think about tomorrow and try to score some points for the team.

“I didn’t see the TV properly so I don’t know how it went. But as I said, I was sad we didn’t score points today because at least my car was very fast. I think on his side it was a little bit slower all weekend, but on my side we lost an opportunity. But not everything is lost because tomorrow with a long race hopefully we can recover.”

The Spaniard doesn’t feel talks are needed between the Alpine drivers as he has set to leave for Aston Martin after next Sunday’s final round in Abu Dhabi.

“I don’t think it needs anything else. One more race to go and next year is going to be a different thing and he will have a different teammate and management will have two different drivers. It’s going to be different, so it’s OK for me.

“Now in the penultimate race I just want to go to Abu Dhabi and test the green cars; that’s my main goal now.”

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