Alpine ‘not impressed’ with Esteban Ocon for declaring 2023 driver preference

Esteban Ocon’s comments about his preference of teammate next season have landed him in hot water with Alpine, according to Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok.

Alpine have a seat to fill following Fernando Alonso’s decision to leave for Aston Martin for 2023 while their attempt to promote reserve driver Oscar Piastri were wrecked by their failure to have the Australian on a valid contract. He will instead move to McLaren for 2023 after F1’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) ruled in their favour and against Alpine.

Pierre Gasly has been regarded as the favourite to replace Alonso, but that move hinges on the Frenchman’s current team AlphaTauri, which is owned by Red Bull, allowing him to leave a year before the end of his contract.

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Red Bull are keen to bring IndyCar star Colton Herta into their stable, but the American’s lack of the required number of superlicence points is proving a stumbling block. As a result, they would be unlikely to release Gasly from his AlphaTauri contract.

It is also well known that there is bad blood between Ocon and Gasly stemming from their karting days. And when Ocon was asked recently which driver he would prefer as his teammate, he made it clear he would choose Mick Schumacher, whose seat at Haas is in jeopardy.

“If I had anything to say, would be Mick, if he doesn’t have anything lined up next year,” said Ocon at the Dutch Grand Prix last weekend.

Which driver should Alpine sign for 2023? Have your say in the comments section below.

However, it appears those comments have not gone down well with the Alpine hierarchy, who are continuing to assess their options for 2023.

“I don’t think that went down particularly well with Alpine,” said Chandhok during practice at the Italian Grand Prix as the Sky Sports team discussed the driver market.

“They were not very impressed with Ocon being so vocal about the fact he wanted Mick when clearly they’ve got other choices higher up in the queue.”

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