Famin: Alpine never considered benching Ocon for Montreal

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Alpine team principal Bruno Famin has denied reports that the French outfit considered sidelining Esteban Ocon from this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in the wake of the Frenchman’s run-in with his teammate in Monaco.

The news earlier this week of Alpine and Ocon splitting at the end of the season was seen by many as a consequence of the events that unfolded in the Principality where Ocon and Pierre Gasly clashed on the opening lap of the race due to an ill-fated overtaking move initiated by the former on the latter.

But Famin insisted that the split had been in the works for several months before it was officially announced last Monday.

“I think with Esteban, and with Pierre… I’ve said it several times before, we have been talking for months. I think with Esteban it was quite clear that we were coming [to] the end of the cycle,” Famin explained.

“He has been with us for five years, he’s still here with us for the [rest] of the season, 16 races to go.

“I’m sure we will still do very good work all together, I trust his professionalism, and we will do our best all together to get the best possible results.”

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Famin confirmed that both drivers had been issued clear instructions ahead of the Monaco GP to avoid any on-track drama between them.

“When we have race instructions, we all speak all together, to make sure everybody has the same information, everybody listens to the same information at the same time,” he said.

“The instructions were clear before the race in Monaco, like it was clear before the race before, the previous one… It was very clear.”

In the heat of the moment, Famin was visibly angry with Ocon for jeopardizing both Alpine driver’s race. In hindsight, he felt that his ire was justified.

“I think it was quite right [for me] to be upset, because for the team it was very bad,” he said.

“Without the red flag we would have been [with] Pierre last, because he would have to stop for the puncture, he would have finished the race last. It was a very bad thing.”

Ahead of this weekend’s Canadian GP, a report emerged claiming that Alpine had sought to bench Ocon for the Montreal round only for its legal advisors to discourage such a course of action.

But Famin emphatically denied that Alpine had considered the drastic measure.

“I don’t know who talked about that,” he said. “It has never been a point.

“Again, we are professional. Even if something bad happens, we talk, we discuss, and we do what we need to do for improving the situation for the coming race, but benching him for a race has never been a point.”

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