Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gasly ‘shock’ at Ocon breach of Alpine ‘trailing car’ plan

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Pierre Gasly has admitted his surprise at Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon diving up the inside of him at Portier on lap one of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old had qualified ahead of Ocon, and had not anticipated the 27-year-old would make a move – especially given what had been agreed within the team prior to the race getting underway.

In springing the unexpected overtake on Gasly, Ocon forced him wide, leaving him with nowhere to go. As he pulled ahead and across his team-mate, looking to take the normal exit ahead of the tunnel, the no 31. Alpine was launched in the air.

The harm to Ocon’s car would prove terminal, with extensive damage to the floor and gearbox rendering him unable to continue, despite a lengthly red flag period caused by the aftermath of Sergio Perez’s accident with the two Haas’.

“I was quite shocked. It was very unnecessary,” Gasly recalled to media including RacingNews365 after the race. “And for the team, [we] should never have such a situation. Especially between team-mates. So, just sad, disappointed with the situation.

“We have clear instructions before the race on what to do and whoever qualified ahead, the trailing car was supposed to help throughout the race with strategy, but unfortunately [that] didn’t happen.”

‘We gotta make sure it doesn’t happen again’

Ocon was awarded a 10 second time penalty for causing the collision, but as he had already retired from the race, the stewards converted his punishment into a five-place grid drop for the Canadian Grand Prix. He also received two penalty points in his FIA super licence.

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin was infuriated by the incident, threatening further repercussions for Ocon. In the heat of the moment he said “consequences” would be determined whilst things were “still raw.”

Despite the needless coming together between the two Alpines and Ocon’s subsequent retirement, Gasly held on during the race to claim P10 and his first point of the year – doubling the French squad’s account for the season in the process.

However, he was quick to highlight how future such accidents must be avoided, underlining the close fight in the midfield will leave no margin for error.

“We definitely need to speak because we can’t afford, especially on a season like that,” he contended. “The points, all two, might be crucial at the end of the year. We just gotta make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

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