Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon

Formula 1 News: Alpine ‘prepared’ to lose both drivers for 2025

(GMM) Struggling Alpine is “prepared” for the eventuality that Esteban Ocon or Pierre Gasly – or both – will abandon the crisis-struck team at the end of the year.

Despite being Renault’s works team, the outfit emerged from the winter with the slowest car of all.

The first upgrades were added to the car at Suzuka – a new front wing and some weight reductions being the most prominent. But on Sunday, Ocon and Gasly appeared to have made little progress whatsoever in terms of pace.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, leads Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524 during the Japanese GP at Suzuka on Friday April 05, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Sam Bloxham / LAT Images)

“We were very aggressive on strategy,” Ocon told Canal Plus, “and we were in the game with the others at one point. But we weren’t fast enough to keep them behind.

“It was a good test to see exactly where we are,” the Frenchman added. “It’s a track that’s really hard for cars, and I also know how to do Suzuka very well. I have been in the top 5 here, but today it’s not enough for that. We need more performance.

“I think we made a step forward in qualifying but we are not where we want to be in the race. We still have a lot of work to do.”

When asked if he’s worried about the situation, Ocon admitted: “We’ve been worried since the beginning of the year. We need to see the progress that we can make now, but in the race we took a step back here.

“Whether we are worried or not, it doesn’t change anything. We have to work hard.”

Alpine F1 drivers Doohan, Gasly and Ocon
Alpine F1 drivers Jack Doohan [Reserve], Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon. Doohan would love to replace either Gasly or Ocon. Warming the bench is never fun.
As for Gasly, he’s trying to sound upbeat publicly – but it’s clear that he’s also worried.

“We have to try to see the positive, even in difficult times like this,” the 28-year-old said. “Now we need more improvements to the car.

“We don’t have the performance we need to fight at the front. We even took a step back in race pace here. But I know the team is capable of it. We just have to keep bringing in pieces and working hard. We are far away and we shouldn’t be this far away.”

Alpine also seems to be struggling operationally, as it emerges that – like Williams – the team does not yet have a third chassis available at the races.

Alpine Team boss Bruno Famin says the next updates will only be added to the car in Miami, and insists that he is also trying to install “a better process and a better organization” at the Viry and Enstone factories.

Alpine VP of Motorsports Bruno Famin
Alpine VP of Motorsports Bruno Famin

Both Ocon and Gasly, however, might clearly accept any offers to jump ship for 2025 – potentially good news for the rookie reserve driver, Jack Doohan.

“I think he has been trained and he will be trained this year with quite a long testing program,” Famin said. “We are going to start soon because we need a car, we need a chassis to run that program.

“After that, the driver market is going to be very dynamic,” he admitted. “Right now, I can say that we are happy with the drivers we have. But we are prepared for any scenario.

“Jack needs to test to keep growing – let’s see what his future will be. But it’s a bit early to answer that question.”

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