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Pierre Gasly

'Third choice Gasly broke in and took Ocon's house in 2023'

The dynamic between Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon was fascinating - with the former coming in and taking the team from his established rival.

Gasly Belgium
To news overview © XPBimages

Of all 10 driver line-ups in 2023, perhaps the most interesting dynamic was that at Alpine of incumbent Esteban Ocon and newcomer Pierre Gasly.

Blindsided when Fernando Alonso, insulted at the team's attempts to ease him out and into a WEC seat, jumped ship for Aston Martin, with reserve driver Oscar Piastri next in line for a race seat.

Except, Piastri's junior contract had been bungled - as RacingNews365 exclusively revealed - and led into McLaren's clutches.

That meant Gasly was effectively third choice for 2023, going up against a driver well embedded within the team for his fourth season - but Gasly emerged with more credit in an overall disappointing season, with the two drivers famously having a frosty relationship after growing up in Normandy together.

Once Gasly had adjusted to the expected troubles of adjusting to a new team and car, he began to assert his dominance over Ocon, who it must be said had some terrible reliability and luck.

Gasly finished ahead 62-58 in the championship, and edged qualifying 14-9 while Ocon actually got the better on Sunday, with 10-9 in races both finished.

Standout results for Gasly included third in the Belgium Sprint and in the chaos of the Dutch Grand Prix, and also an outstanding sixth in the United States, as he ended the season as Alpine's figurehead.

There were flashpoints along the way, such as a needless team order snafu in Japan, perhaps reflective of the mess Alpine finds itself in, off-track.

Any team who loses its CEO, Team Principal, Sporting Director and Chief Technical Officer during a season is in trouble, with fourth in a strong 2022 turning into a 'no man's land' sixth this time around.

But Gasly himself recognises the team needs to focus on making change to the performance of its car.

Gasly reflects on Alpine switch

"I must say it's tough to say you're pleased with the season you've had when you haven't scored that many points," Gasly told media including RacingNews365.

"It's been, objectively, slightly disappointing in terms of the overall performance we've shown, but personally, I'm definitely happy with the step I've made.

"I came into a new team, there was a lot to learn, a lot to get used to.

"I felt I managed to step in and just deliver, trying to get everything out of the car, weekend after weekend. I obviously wish we would be fighting for better positions.

"But all in all, I feel like we are working very well with the team. We just need a better package and more speed for next year.

"The last few races I've been really happy with the way we've been working with the guys, with the whole team, maximising the package we have because it's obviously been a pretty tough season for us."

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