Fernando Alonso vs Esteban Ocon: Which Alpine F1 Driver’s Likely to Emerge Ahead?

Published 01/19/2021, 11:44 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 11, 2020 Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo during practice Giuseppe Cacace/Pool via REUTERS


The 2021 season will be fireworks as the grid is laden with top-quality drivers. Former World Champion Fernando Alonso is returning after a 2-year sabbatical. On top of that, it will be new beginnings for Renault who will race under their sports car brand moniker, Alpine.

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Things did not heat up between Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon in 2020. It was fairly respectful with the Australian driver overshadowing his younger counterpart.

But he will start from scratch with Alonso. So, what happens to the team dynamic now? Will this partnership be successful for Renault? Let’s look at the past history of Ocon-Alonso with ex-teammates to predict the outcome.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Fernando Alonso poses for a picture with the Renault R25 before driving a lap Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

Background of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon

They both have had some friction with their teammates in the past. Esteban Ocon, in his rookie year itself, was going toe-to-toe with Sergio Perez.

He famously collided with him at Spa, Belgium. But he ultimately finished 13 points behind him in the Championship table. And the next season as well. So, it does not bode well for him that he has never gotten the better of the driver on the other side of his garage.

Whereas Fernando Alonso is an expert in ‘destroying’ his teammates. Aside from Lewis Hamilton, who finished level on points with him in 2007, he’s had them all in his back pocket.

His conquests include former winners like Jenson Button, Giancarlo Fisichella, Felipe Massa, and Kimi Raikkonen. And this is without mentioning Stoffel Vandoorne, whose F1 career he decimated at McLaren.

What’s more, he is someone who prefers leading a team. So, if Ocon is not able to match him, he should know what is coming for him.

Expectations

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – December 6, 2020 Renault’s Esteban Ocon celebrates on the podium after finishing in second place Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

Ocon could muster only 62 points to Ricciardo’s 119 points haul in 2020. But he was returning after a season-long gap, and Ricciardo is no slouch behind the wheel. So one can expect him to have a better time, especially after grabbing his maiden podium in Sakhir.

On the other hand, the expectations are sky high for Fernando Alonso. But he may require a period of adjustment after a 2-year-long gap. But one cannot rule out a podium or two from the shrewd Spaniard.

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Winner – Fernando Alonso

Drumrolls, please! He is the favorite for this matchup by a mile or so. Although Ocon has an abundance of potential, he is not in Alonso’s league.

SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 24: Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda talks in the Paddock during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

And even though he is 40 and without as much time behind the wheel of a Renault as Ocon, he brings a killer mentality. He wouldn’t be on a comeback trail if he had any doubts over his ability.

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Bharat Aggarwal

753 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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