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Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Monaco, 2024

Esteban Ocon has said news on his future “will be announced in due course” after Alpine revealed his fifth season with them will be his last.

Alpine’s announcement came eight days after its team principal Bruno Famin stated there would be “consequences” over Ocon’s collision with Pierre Gasly on the opening lap of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The team has not indicated any direct link between the collision and Ocon’s impending exit. The statement issued on Monday claimed driver and team “have agreed together to part ways” and it’s not hard to imagine why the dissatisfaction might have been mutual.

When Ocon joined Alpine they were regular points contenders. Now they are fighting to stay above the bottom of the standings.

Ocon collided with Gasly soon after the start in Monaco

Ocon arrived in 2020 when the team still competed as Renault, in the fifth season since it returned as a full manufacturer. But in 2021 Renault rebranded the team as Alpine and replaced its ‘five-year’ plan for success with a new ‘100-race’ plan. This weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix marks the 75th event since then but the team has little progress to celebrate.

Alpine appeared to be heading in the right direction to begin with: Ocon’s victory for them at Hungary in 2021 may have been fortuitous, but solid gains were made in 2022 when they rose to fourth in the constructors’ championship. Otmar Szafnauer, whom Ocon worked with at Force India, took charge of the team at the beginning of the year.

However in 2023 the team failed to build on that progress. McLaren and Aston Martin relegated them to sixth in the championship. More changes occured on the management side: Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi, who lambasted the team after a poor showing early in the year at Baku, was replaced by Bruno Famin. He then showed Szafnauer the door after a just a year and a half in the job, and long-standing sporting director Alan Permane followed.

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The team’s technical division has since lost a series of top names. Chief technical officer Pat Fry left around the same time as Szafnauer to join Williams. After the A524 proved uncompetitive at the season-opener technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer also departed. Another long-serving team member, Rob White, left the team just last week.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Hungaroring, 2021
Alpine and Ocon won together in Hungary in 2021

Meanwhile Ocon and Gasly have just two points to show for…

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