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Dramatic rivalries can be beneficial for F1



Dramatic rivalries can be beneficial for F1

Dramatic rivalries can certainly add excitement and intrigue to F1, as they can generate interest and discussion among fans and media outlets. However, it’s important that any conflicts or tensions are resolved in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the team’s performance or reputation. Ultimately, the primary focus for any team and its drivers should be on achieving success on the track.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, the 2023 Alpine Formula 1 drivers, do not have any animosity or ill will towards each other.

The previous conflict between them was exaggerated and unlikely to reemerge in the 2023 season. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely to have any effect on Alpine’s performance during the season.

Alpine and its drivers made it clear during the launch of its new A523 in London that they were eager to emphasize this message.

Even if their relationship is indeed amicable, there is no amount of denials, staged public appearances, or messaging that can divert the attention from it. The media and the public are likely to continue focusing on their relationship regardless of any efforts made to shift the narrative.

Alpine’s attempt to present a united front between Ocon and Gasly, along with the drivers’ evident frustration in responding to questions about their relationship during the launch, is likely to further intensify public interest and scrutiny on the issue.

During their media sessions, Gasly and Ocon were both asked about their relationship with each other, with the first question referencing their “up and down” dynamic as teammates.

It’s likely that both drivers anticipated such questions, but they appeared to be visibly frustrated and were eager to interrupt the line of questioning.



Gasly expressed his frustration with the first question, saying, “Are you really going to ask me that as the first question, for f***’s sake? It’s been three months and you’re already asking me these kinds of questions.”

While Gasly’s words may seem harsh when written down, they were delivered in a more lighthearted tone, but his frustration with the line of questioning was clear.

Likewise, Ocon also interjected with his own comment, saying “First question of the year! Oh my God…” when faced with the same line of questioning.

Ocon’s response also had a light-hearted tone and was made in front of a media pack he seemed comfortable with. Both drivers went on to provide more detailed answers once the question had been fully asked.

When asked if he believed he could work with Ocon, Gasly responded confidently, saying, “I’m very confident, I have no doubt.”

Gasly also mentioned that he had spent more time with Ocon in the last two months than he had in the previous ten years and that things were going well between them.

Ocon echoed Gasly’s sentiment, stating that they were both now more mature and aware of their responsibilities as Alpine drivers, with the support of the team behind them.


Ocon emphasized the importance of working closely together to be competitive and push the team forward. He reiterated his confidence in their ability to work well together, saying, “That’s why I have no doubt that everything will be fine.”

Ocon also expressed his confidence in their ability to work together, and acknowledged the media’s tendency to focus on headlines and stories. He stated, “We are both very professional, and we are going to work the way we need to be performing.”

Ocon acknowledged that they may not necessarily become best friends, but he emphasized that it wasn’t a crucial factor as long as the team atmosphere remained positive, which he believed was the case at the moment and would continue throughout the year.

It was evident that both drivers wanted to clarify their relationship, but their visible frustration with the questions might only serve to draw more attention to the issue if they react similarly to future questions during the 2023 season.

Ocon’s observation that journalists and fans are likely to enjoy off-track drama and intrigue in F1 is accurate. The success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive series is a testament to this phenomenon, even if the series takes some liberties with the facts that can be frustrating for those close to the sport.

Unlike some of the fabricated or exaggerated intra-team rivalries that Drive to Survive has depicted, such as the one between Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, who had a harmonious relationship during their time at McLaren, Ocon and Gasly have a genuine history of what appears to be a feud.

Despite indications that both drivers have moved on from their past issues, the history between Ocon and Gasly is likely to continue generating interest and scrutiny from journalists and fans, particularly since certain aspects of their relationship remain unknown.

rivalries can beneficial F1

It’s understandable to feel sympathetic towards Ocon and Gasly for having their entire relationship scrutinized, as this level of attention is uncommon in most other professions. It’s not typical for one’s childhood relationships to be constantly brought up and analyzed in such a public forum.

least no more than what any pair of new F1 team-mates have to show their team: that they can work well together.

Ocon is correct in asserting that not every colleague needs to be best friends, and a lack of a personal relationship does not necessarily harm the team’s performance. Ultimately, the drivers have the same objective as any other pair of new F1 teammates, which is to demonstrate that they can work effectively together and achieve success for their team.

It’s evident that Alpine was concerned about the relationship or the perception of it, which is why they aired a promotional video of Ocon and Gasly driving to Alpine’s factory and arranged for them to spend much of the winter together, including visits to Lapland and Paris. These efforts suggest that the team was invested in improving their relationship and creating a more positive narrative around it.


It’s true that Alpine’s efforts to publicly portray Ocon and Gasly as a united front are relatively uncommon in F1, and no other team has gone to the same lengths to showcase their driver relationship. This approach is noteworthy, even compared to teams with driver pairings that may not have an obvious friendship.

rivalries can beneficial F1

If Ocon and Gasly were to have a falling out during the 2023 season, Alpine’s highly publicized efforts to portray their relationship as a united front could potentially backfire. However, if such a situation were to occur, it wouldn’t necessarily be evidence of a wider problem or unresolved issues between the drivers or the team. Disagreements and conflicts can arise between any pair of teammates, even those who have a good working relationship or have resolved previous issues.

It’s worth noting that Ocon had some tense moments with his former teammate Fernando Alonso during the 2021 season, and this had nothing to do with any prior feud between them. These incidents illustrate that conflicts can arise between teammates for various reasons, and it’s not always something that can be resolved through pre-season bonding or public denials of any bad blood.


Like any other pair of teammates, Alpine needs to manage Ocon and Gasly in a way that keeps them both satisfied and enables them to perform at their best for the benefit of the team. While the team’s efforts to portray a positive relationship between the drivers may be commendable, it’s ultimately their on-track performance that will matter most in the end.

Provided that Gasly and Ocon can successfully navigate the 2023 season without any on-track conflicts, the media attention surrounding their relationship is likely to diminish. However, this can only happen if both drivers and the team stop being concerned about the spotlight on their relationship.

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