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Alpine against ‘destabilizing’ Alonso / Ocon rivalry

Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 Team and Fernando Alonso of Spain and Alpine F1 Team stand on the grid during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 12, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)

The Alpine F1 Team won’t allow a rivalry between their line-up of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon to the point that it becomes ‘destabilizing’ for one of the two.

Alpine ambassador Alain Prost said the team is aware of the personalities of their drivers, with Alonso having a history of being harsh when dealing with teammates; something that could destabilize Esteban Ocon, his french teammate.

“If a driver is destabilized, that’s not normal,” said Prost in an interview with Le Figaro. “What is normal, however, is that a psychological game is set up. There is always one driver who gets the upper hand.

“If that’s one driver one time, and then the other one [another time], it’s balanced and things go well.

“When it’s more regular, as Esteban experienced last year with Daniel [Ricciardo], it’s more complicated. So it’s very important that the drivers work well together and that there are no dangerous games.

“It’s going to be a long season, and these COVID years are also complicated to manage. It’s not much fun, locked in bubbles with incredible restrictions.

“The dynamic and atmosphere of a team are extremely important for performance, so you have to be very vigilant to ensure that there is no degradation, first and foremost, among the drivers.”

Prost said that a driver like Alonso brings the right experience to the team, but that it’s a very demanding personality. He said, however, that the Spaniard is aware he’s probably not going to take any victory home this year, or at least not in a regular basis.

“A driver with such a personality automatically brings something,” he said. “Fernando is very demanding and a perfectionist. He demans a lot. It’s up to us to take it on board.

“But he is also aware that it is probably not this year that he will be able to win races on a regular basis. What is certain is that even for a point for tenth place, he will fight body and soul to bring it back.

“But we must not forget that it is always the pair of drivers who make a team progress. We expect a lot from Esteban. He now knows the team. We have changed things for him, notably his track engineer. Everything has been done to make him as comfortable as possible,” Prost concluded.

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