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Formula 1

Everything you need to know about Ocon's Alpine F1 split

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
6 min read

Alpine’s announcement that it will part ways with driver Esteban Ocon at the end of 2024 is significant despite only confirming something already widely expected.

With only one-third of the season gone, and no sign of an announcement of what Ocon will do next, Alpine and its driver have decided to make it public and official that he is leaving the team.

This is something that was all but assured anyway. But why has it been handled this way, and what comes next for an embattled team and a free agent who just a few days ago felt the need to publicly defend his reputation?


The obvious question many will be asking is whether this is linked to the consequences that seemed to be threatened by team principal Bruno Famin after Ocon tried to overtake and clashed with team-mate Pierre Gasly on lap one of the Monaco Grand Prix.

In simple terms, it is not. It is certainly not Ocon’s ‘punishment’ for driving into his team-mate. It has been known for some time that Ocon was increasingly unlikely to be retained by Alpine beyond the end of his contract anyway.

What happened in Monaco almost certainly did not help, though. It must have eradicated any tiny chance Ocon had of being kept on.

Gasly is going nowhere as a relatively new signing who has some kind of contractual option for 2025, and the combustible nature of that driver pairing meant it always had an expiration date. A perfect ‘team player’ job would have at least framed the Ocon/Gasly combination as workable, instead what happened only confirmed it is unsustainable.

So, the Monaco incident might be best viewed as completely cementing the view – from both sides, Alpine’s and Ocon’s – that there is no reason to continue together beyond 2024.

As the likely scenario has become a definite outcome, Alpine wants to publicly signal that it has an open seat as the driver market enters a frenzied final stage, and Ocon is keen to firm up his own future elsewhere, communicating the situation openly is a useful exercise in transparency.

And by emphasising the job both sides need to do until the end of the season, it also helps draw a line under speculation Ocon could be benched over the Monaco clash. 


Alpine will not only start speaking to potential alternatives as of Monday, June 3. It has had lines of communication with other drivers and their representatives for several weeks already.

The fact Ocon was out of contract means Alpine has long been considering who would be the best option for Gasly’s team-mate in 2025. Gasly is not officially locked down for next season but it should only be considered a formality at this stage.  

Now that Ocon is 100% out of the picture though, the options are getting clearer. An unofficial longlist would feature ‘every driver who is out of contract’ but Alpine, being a works team, will hope to appeal to a higher calibre of driver than those simply seeking any port in a storm.

That means the usual suspects can be considered – Carlos Sainz (who is favouring Audi-backed Sauber or Williams), Valtteri Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda. All have had conversations of some kind, or at least their representatives have.

There is also Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan, an Academy member who has recently started a private testing programme [above] with the team and is considered a legitimate option for a race seat.

Outside contenders might be Zhou Guanyu, or ex-F1 driver and Alpine World Endurance Championship racer Mick Schumacher, but there seems little chance of either actually getting a race seat.


It is unusual to see this kind of announcement as a standalone news item. Usually, confirming an end-of-year split happens when the driver in question is poised to be announced by their new team.

Coordinated press releases are often the order of the day. But there is no follow-up news from Ocon about his future – so this has presumably happened without the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner having a new deal in his pocket elsewhere.

Ocon says “I will announce my plans soon”, so maybe there is something more concrete lined up. Or maybe that’s just a reflection of the driver market finally coming to a conclusion.

In a similar vein to Alpine, Ocon has not been sat around waiting for this to be official. There have been talks with Haas and Williams, and he has often been linked with Sauber/Audi – although as a back-up option rather than an outright priority.

It seems highly likely Ocon will remain on the F1 grid somewhere, although like a few drivers aiming to grab one of the last places, exactly who he ends up driving for is still something of a mystery. 


Monaco was not an isolated incident and Alpine’s furious response in the aftermath wasn’t an overreaction to one clash, nor is splitting with Ocon a direct consequence of it.

It represents that petty individual squabbles cannot be put aside for the good of the team. The only way to resolve that in the long-term is for one driver to leave, and end a team-mate pairing that should never have been allowed in the first place.

Alpine took a big risk by pairing Ocon and Gasly given the long-standing tensions between them. Those go way back to their karting days and they were initially friends. 

That soon changed, even though the full details of their falling out are lost in the mists of time. It’s well-known that it wasn’t just on-track incidents that fuelled their falling out, but also things that happened off-track. 

Alpine was well aware of this when it signed Gasly for 2023 to partner Ocon, bringing together two drivers with a complicated backstory - and in Ocon, one had a track record for antagonistic team-mate relationships, as proved alongside Sergio Perez at Force India and with Gasly’s predecessor at Alpine, Fernando Alonso.

It took all of three races for Gasly and Ocon to drive into each other, at the final standing restart of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. What was surprising is they generally avoided a repeat of such flashpoints in 2023.

However they were waging an intense war for supremacy with both determined to establish themselves as Alpine team leader. Gasly won out in the second half of 2023 while Ocon reasserted himself in early 2024 at the peak of the team’s competitive misery.

More cracks have started to appear and now it has finally boiled over. Parting ways was inevitable – the only question now is what happens over the rest of 2024.

Ocon’s leaving, and sooner or later he’ll have a deal in the bag to race somewhere else. If he and Gasly were capable of causing problems on-track when they were driving for the same team, who knows what will happen now one of them is not trying to keep their seat.

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