Esteban Ocon Gets Confident Boost as Alpine CEO Confirms Fernando Alonso Not Number 1

Published 03/06/2021, 5:03 AM EST
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 walks in the Paddock after practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


Alpine F1 will be making their F1 debut this year. Having rebranded the Renault team, the Enstone-based outfit have stuck with Esteban Ocon and have added the services of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso to their books as well. While one might expect the latter, for all his experience and status, to be the number 1 driver at the team, Alpine aren’t deeming him to be so.

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The CEO of the French team Laurent Rossi said that they don’t intend to keep any driver hierarchy. As such, Alonso and Ocon will be treated the same way on track.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 walks in the Paddock during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

“That doesn’t exist. I don’t think it exists in many teams, to be honest, at least not in ours. The two drivers [need] to be as fast as possible and will clearly challenge each other. That’s like healthy competition and that’s about it. There’s no instruction and no number one driver designated here,” said Rossi.

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Fans will only be able to find out the truth behind this statement once the season gets underway. More often than not, Alonso has always gotten the status (albeit unofficially, at times) as the team’s lead driver. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the Spaniard accepts this seemingly regressed role.

Typically, a team targeting the title, such as Mercedes or Red Bull, seem to have a driver hierarchy. But with the newly unveiled Alpine likely to be embroiled in a mid-field battle where every point counts, having no clear number 1 is probably a better solution.

Esteban Ocon should gain confidence from Alpine F1’s decision

BARCELONA, SPAIN: Esteban Ocon of France and Renault Sport F1 looks on from the garage during Day Two of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

The Frenchman didn’t have the greatest of season’s last year as he was outclassed by teammate Daniel Ricciardo. However, he did make a strong revival at the back end of the season. Even after that, knowing that he will be paired up with Fernando, Ocon‘s confidence and self-belief may not have been very high.

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But with this news, he should be encouraged. The fact that the team continues to back him and believes in his abilities to take the fight to his teammate would boost his morale. And that’d be very important for the season ahead.

2021 could make or break Ocon’s career; if he can outshine his teammate, he may be considered for the Mercedes drive that he agonizingly missed out on a year or so ago.

Can the once highly-rated Frenchman show his mettle? We shall find out soon.

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DIVE DEEPER

Former F1 Boss Does Not Think Alpine Can Provide Fernando Alonso With a ‘Winning F1 Car’

5 months ago

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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