Formula 1 Racing

Rossi threatened to replace Alonso and Ocon for final race over Brazil clashes · RaceFans

Rossi threatened to replace Alonso and Ocon for final race over Brazil clashes · RaceFans

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi revealed he threatened to replace drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon as punishment for the collisions between the pair at Interlagos.

The Alpine pair clashed twice on the opening lap of the sprint race for last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, damaging Alonso’s front wing as well as leaving a hole in the sidepod of Ocon’s car. Both failed to score as a result of the collisions, which also left them 16th and 17th on the grid for the grand prix.

With Alpine locked in a battle with McLaren for fourth place in the constructors’ championship, Rossi said he threatened to replace both drivers if they did not show more respect for each other on the track.

“I told the drivers, as long as they behave as adults, I’ll treat them as adults,” Rossi said. “So they can race, until the team is worse off – which happened last weekend.

“I reminded them of our contract and I reminded them of the fact that I have plenty of drivers that are longing to race in their place. And it would be a shame to finish the year with two other drivers, even if it costs me a lot.”

After their clash in the sprint race, both Alonso and Ocon recovered to score points despite starting in the bottom five positions on the grid.

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“They took their responsibility and they did a brilliant job,” Rossi said. “So, it happens to everyone.

“I guess this is what makes those drivers incredible champions. They have this killer instinct and sometimes it goes a bit too far. So, that’s my role as well, to bring them back into a better space.”

Rossi confirmed that the team did not impose team orders on their drivers during the grand prix to ensure there would not be a repeat of their sprint race troubles.

“We told them that, if we have to, they’ll have to follow the orders – but there were no team orders,” Rossi explained.

“We had two different strategies, we could not predict which one could yield the better outcome because it depends on the race conditions. But based on the pace, and the circumstances, we told them that, if we have to, we will impose swaps or things like that and they would have to comply – which they did.”

Alonso will depart Alpine for Aston Martin following this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi after two seasons racing with the team. Pierre Gasly will move from AlphaTauri to take over Alonso’s seat.

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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