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Alpine F1 Team

Will Alpine take nuclear option and axe Ocon with immediate effect?

Alpine team boss Bruno Famin's firm statement after the Monaco race has caused intense speculation surrounding Esteban Ocon's position with the French F1 team.

Ocon Gasly
To news overview © XPBimages

If Red Bull's Helmut Marko had made comments similar to Bruno Famin about one of his drivers after the Monaco Grand Prix, it could be assumed the driver in question would not be in the car at the next race.

Whether the same approach applies to Famin's leadership is not yet clear, still the Frenchman's striking statement after the Monaco race, which followed a crash between Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, shows there is a lot of frustration within Alpine. 

That frustration didn't come overnight. When Gasly announced his departure from AlphaTauri to Alpine at the end of 2022, it led to conjecture about the potentially turbulent relationship between Gasly and Ocon.

Although the two drivers have always been able to prove over the past year and a half they could get along, it became abundantly clear in Monaco this is not the case. 

The drivers have come into contact with one another more than once during their time together, but in Monaco, it became clear that the frustrations are even greater than imagined between the pair.

Otherwise, it is impossible to explain why Ocon would make such an ambitious move on his team-mate through the narrow streets of Monaco, particularly after they were told by the team before the race not to make contact. 

Ocon's risky attempt at an overtake blew up Alpine's plans, resulting in the end of his race, with damage sustained to the gearbox and suspension. The contact could have easily resulted in Gasly also retiring and ultimately losing his first point of the season as he went on to finish 10th.

Consequences of the Monaco incident?

In the 'silly season', looking ahead to the 2025 campaign, it has become clear Ocon is looking for a switch to another team. 

His name has been linked to Mercedes, Williams and Haas, and as he still has a management link with Toto Wolff, the former two teams seem to be viable options. 

Whichever team he races for, it is clear Ocon will no longer be with Alpine in 2025. Both the team and driver have grown tired of each other - and so it is time for him to move on. 

As it was known before the weekend in Monaco that, in all likelihood, Ocon will not continue with Alpine, Famin's striking statement becomes all the more interesting. 

What did the team boss mean by a "tough decision" if it was already clear Ocon will no longer race for Alpine in 2025 anyway? 

It is clear that Ocon will no longer be in action for Alpine starting in 2025

Possible drastic decision?

Speculation has therefore started about Famin making a possible drastic decision. It could be Alpine opting to say goodbye to Ocon immediately and field a new driver in the car from the Canadian Grand Prix. 

The most logical replacement in that case would be Jack Doohan, Alpine's current test driver who is also doing much of the simulator work for the F1 team this season.

The Australian completed a test at the Zandvoort circuit just a few weeks ago with an Alpine 2022 car, and seems ready to replace Ocon, even in the short term.

Given Famin's strong statement, this scenario will certainly be on his mind. Should the team boss make the choice, it will, in all likelihood, mean Doohan will have the chance to prove himself for the rest of the season as it is illogical to sideline Ocon for just one race. 

While it would spell disaster for Ocon, at the same time it presents an ideal opportunity for Doohan to apply for a permanent seat at Alpine for 2025. 

The son of five-time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan, he has had several F1 tests at Alpine in recent years. This included outings at the Hungaroring and Monza, and during those tests, he made a strong impression.

Additionally, the important simulator tests during race weekends in Europe are conducted by Doohan. As a result, the 21-year-old seems to be the ideal, and only truly suitable candidate, to deliver immediately for Alpine. 

Mick Schumacher, who competes for Alpine's WEC team and has two seasons of F1 experience under his belt, could be another alternative. The French team is going through a difficult season and has had to fight hard in the midfield pack to secure points, so a degree of F1 experience may play into his hands.

Whatever the outcome, and bearing in mind Ocon has so far secured more points than Gasly, any replacement will need to be 100 per cent ready to deliver immediate results.

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