Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly are both confident they can work together as Alpine teammates despite admitting the will never be best friends based on their tumultuous history.
The two French drivers did not get along through their junior careers and for a time weren’t even on speaking terms, but have been paired together at Alpine this year after Gasly replaced the Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso. Ocon says the relationship with Gasly is always likely to be strictly professional, but he has no concerns that the pair can work together.
“I am confident,” Ocon said at the launch of the Alpine A523. “Obviously you guys like the headlines and all these kinds of stories, but we are both very professional and we are going to work the way we need to be performing. I don’t think we will ever be best friends but that doesn’t matter really, as long as the atmosphere is great inside the team – and that’s how it is at the moment, and that’s how it will remain during the year.
“The important thing is that we keep those open conversations that we are having at the moment and we will have them, because we are not at the point where we can win every race.
“We need to develop this car, we need to get the maximum conversation flow going to find ideas going forward, so I’m not worried. It’s going to be a great collaboration together, it has already started, and I look forward to keeping it.”
Both drivers made fun of their relationship remaining a focal point during the launch, with Gasly saying the pair are on the best terms that they’ve been on in a decade.
“I am very confident. I’ve got no doubt,” Gasly said. “I’ve spent more time with him over the last two months than I’ve spent with him in the last 10 years. Things are going well. We’re grown-up people now, more mature, aware of the responsibilities we have being Alpine drivers and having such a big group behind us, and we just know that we’ve got to work closely together.
“If we want to be competitive we’ve got to push the team forward and for that we’ve got to work together. That’s why I’ve got no doubt everything will be fine.”