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F1 2023 – A mental battle is expected between Gasly and Ocon



F1 2023 - A mental battle is expected between Gasly and Ocon

This year will be difficult for Esteban Ocon as his teammate Pierre Gasly seems much more determined and rational. It will be challenging for Ocon to lead in front of his more humble and determined compatriot.

We are well aware of Ocon’s past battles with his teammates, they were never easy. Ocon has a strong character but is also very sensitive at the same time.

In theory, having Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly as an all-French lineup for Renault’s Formula 1 team seems like an ideal pairing. It will create one of the most intriguing and explosive dynamics on the 2023 Formula 1 grid.

In the past, Gasly and Ocon had a close relationship, and when Gasly was named by Alpine during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend in the previous year, it was highlighted how wonderful it was for two young French drivers who used to race karts together to now be competing for the only French Formula 1 team.

This is not a fictional story, it is a remarkable occurrence, a credit to both drivers and the support they received in their early years.

However, their personal connections do not guarantee a positive outcome, as a disagreement in their youth resulted in a cold relationship at best. There was a strong dislike between them for a long time.

The origins of their rift have never been publicly discussed. Gasly stated in 2018: “I started to beat him and he didn’t like it.” Others who have been associated with either driver suggest it is more complicated than that, and involves families as well.


Alpine and both of its drivers have stated that this situation can be handled, and it is reasonable to give them a chance to demonstrate that they are capable of doing so. Gasly even sees this as an opportunity for their relationship to return to what it once was.

“When we were six-years-old and just racing in karting on a small track next to our hometown, back then, it was only a dream to make it to F1,” he said.

“We knew that even the possibility for one of us to make it was highly unlikely. To be competing on the same team for a French manufacturer now is just an amazing story.”

“We’ve had our highs and lows in our relationship, but I believe it’s an opportunity to put the past behind us.”

Since the news was announced, both Gasly and Ocon have spoken about it, even when not prompted, which suggests that Alpine is eager to focus on this aspect of the story.

“It’s an amazing story to tell,” said Ocon, the current driver. “We started go-karting together. That’s pretty crazy, a lot of great memories with Pierre when we were kids.”

“There are some great things we can accomplish. At the very least, we should do an excellent job for the team and work well together. I’m confident everything will be fine.”


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While highlighting the positives is acceptable, it would be unrealistic and incorrect to ignore the negatives. Alpine has acknowledged the possibility of conflict and took it into consideration when considering Gasly and discussed it with both drivers, even consulting Ocon before making the decision.

“We made an informed decision, which involved talking to the entire team, including Esteban before,” said team boss Otmar Szafnauer at the time of Gasly’s announcement.

“We must be able to work together and optimize. Both Esteban and Pierre were very supportive.”

“They’re professionals and they have no problem working together. Hopefully, their friendship will be rekindled.”

It was a wise strategy for the team to take into account the potential for tension between the two drivers, especially considering Ocon’s history of conflicts with past teammates, such as Sergio Perez at Force India, and even some incidents with Alonso at Alpine.

Szafnauer stated at the end of 2022 that Ocon needs to improve his judgement in terms of when and how aggressively to race against his teammate.


The fact of the matter is, the previous conflict between the two drivers has not been denied, rather it has been downplayed. Alpine is optimistic that it will no longer be a relevant topic, however, there is still an underlying issue between the two drivers that cannot be ignored.

This situation highlights the importance of preventing any early conflicts between the drivers. Additionally, the high-pressure nature of the sport, and the fact that a driver’s teammate is often considered their primary rival, make it easier for tensions to rise.

It is expected that there will be competition between the two drivers as they each try to establish themselves as the leader of the team, as is typical with new teammates. With Alonso’s departure, Alpine needs someone to step up and take on the role of leading the team.

Ocon is confident that he is prepared to take on the role of leader for the team, and will be just as motivated as Gasly to do so. He will be entering his fourth season with Alpine and feels a sense of ownership over the team. On the other hand, Gasly also sees this as an opportunity to make his mark on the team, especially after being in a difficult position at Red Bull.

This is not an obvious or immediate problem, but rather a potential issue that could arise if certain conditions are met – such as an on-track incident or a seemingly insignificant comment or action in public or behind the scenes.

Out of all the potential team-mate pairings, this one has the greatest likelihood of causing conflict, beyond those that may have the potential for on-track competition (like Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll at Aston Martin) or those that have a small history of tension being exaggerated (like Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg at Haas).

Both Gasly and Ocon have made positive statements so far and will likely continue to do so when Alpine unveils its 2023 car on February 16 and during the pre-season testing. They will probably be asked about the situation again at some point.


Gasly stated last year “We are mature and intelligent enough to know what’s best for both of us, and most importantly for the team.”

It is possible that the shared experience of being teammates at Alpine, and the passage of time, has completely resolved any remaining tensions and they will never arise again.

However, it appears that the newly rebuilt relationship between them will be put to the test at some point.

If the Alpine 2023 performs exceptionally well and is faster, then the drivers will not hold back against each other. Given the personalities of the two Frenchmen, they will not be modest and there will be no gifts given between them.

This is exactly what is needed in Formula 1 currently, as the sport needs more battles at the front, as 2 hours of watching TV without any excitement could cause us to unsubscribe from the most fabulous sport in the world.

Ultimately, 2020 will probably be the year of great races and the battle of the strongest mentality. This is good for us, and good for the show.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 18: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT02 Honda and Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Alpine A521 Renault battle for position during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 18, 2021 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

F1 2023 battle Gasly Ocon F1 2023 battle Gasly Ocon F1 2023 battle Gasly Ocon F1 2023 Gasly Ocon

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