Alpine’s Formula 1 team boss did not mince his words on Saturday evening after the end of the Sprint race at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sau Paulo, which was marked by two collisions between Alonso and his team-mate Esteban Ocon, as well as a fire in the Frenchman’s car. Indeed the boss rages at his drivers for their on track behaviour which cost the team dearly in their close battle with McLaren for constructors points.
The Sprint race for the Alpine F1 team was a real disappointment with Esteban Ocon eighteenth and Fernando Alonso fifteenth, as the two team-mates collided on track, causing significant damage to Alonso’s car.
After a good start from the top ten on the grid, Esteban Ocon looked to pass Lando Norris’ McLaren at Turn 4, forcing the Frenchman wide. Unfortunately, as a result, Esteban Ocon pushed Fernando Alonso out of the way and onto the kerb, disrupting his car while hitting the right rear floor of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, causing significant damage.
On the same lap, at the final corner, Fernando Alonso attempted to overtake Esteban Ocon on the main straight. As he approached the overtake, the Spaniard collided with the rear of Esteban Ocon’s A522, damaging his front wing in the process, and forcing him to stop for a front wing replacement.
From there, Alonso tried to work his way up from the back of the field but eventually finished sixteenth at the chequered flag. He inherited an extra position as a result of Lance Stroll’s time penalty. The damage to Esteban Ocon’s car caused him to slip down the order and the Frenchman would eventually finish eighteenth.
As if that wasn’t enough, Ocon’s car then started to catch fire in the Parc Fermé where it was parked after the finish, with the French manufacturer’s team suspecting a fuel leak.
“Drivers have let down the team!”
“We are extremely disappointed with the result of today’s Sprint qualifying, which has put us in a worse position on the grid for tomorrow’s main race,” said Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s manager, who was very upset with his drivers.
“We are in a very tight and competitive championship fight for fourth place in the constructors’ championship; a goal that over 1,000 staff are working and striving for relentlessly.”
“Frankly, Esteban and Fernando need to do a better job of complementing the fantastic efforts of everyone in the team by avoiding on-track incidents and compromising the performance of the whole team.”
“Today both drivers let the team down. I expect more from them tomorrow where we have to do everything we can to get some points back from the weekend for the Championship. Our aim is to make sure we go to Abu Dhabi next weekend in a position where we can achieve our goals for the season. Tomorrow is another day.”
More punishment, for Alonso
Further to this incident, Fernando Alonso was found guilty of the second contact with his teammate and as a result received a five-second penalty on his final time (he drops to eighteenth) and two penalty points on his Superlicence.
After the Sprint race, McLaren scored a point in the constructors’ championship thanks to Lando Norris and thus reduced the gap to six points with Alpine.