Tough partnerships: Will we see sparks between mates in 2023 as well?

Tough partnerships: Will we see sparks between mates in 2023 as well?

07-12-2022 07:00 Last update: 09:14

Next season we will see two new driver pairs on the grid: Hulkenberg and Magnussen at Haas and Gasly and Ocon at Alpine. The history between these new teammates, however, does not bode well. In fact, the two French drivers have had an intense rivalry since their karting days, while the tension between the two Haas drivers dates back to the famous 'Suck my balls, honey' episode said by Magnussen. Similar situations have erupted noisily in the past: will it happen again in 2023?

Couples bursting at the seams

By choosing Gasly and Ocon, Alpine has secured an all-French driver pair. Since the first rumours about the arrival of the former AlphaTauri driver, however, the first doubtful voices have been raised: but don't these two hate each other? The relationship between Gasly and Ocon has in fact always been tense, since well before their arrival in Formula 1. The two have been battling on the track since they were children, but they were also good friends. Then, due to some on-track discourtesy, the two grew apart and became real rivals. Both say they have now overcome their mutual dislikes, but Alpine has already taken various measures to prevent any difficult situations, including with their respective families.

Instead, the reason for the discord between Hulkenberg and Magnussen dates back to the 2017 Hungarian GP. A rash manoeuvre by Magnussen causes Hulkenberg to run off the track, who pats the Dane on the back after the race and calls him "The most unsportsmanlike driver on the grid". Magnussen responds with the now famous 'Suck my balls, honey', and from there it's a frost between the two drivers. The future Haas owners are back on speaking terms this season, in which they have publicly put the incident, which they believe was greatly exaggerated by the media, behind them.

Recent cases...

However, this is not the first time in recent Formula 1 history that a team has had a rivalry at home. Ocon himself has already been involved in a home-grown feud with Sergio Perez in his Racing Point days. The two often competed too vigorously with each other, ending up eliminating each other, until they were banned from competing against each other. Even a winning pair like Vettel and Webber at Red Bull was far from harmonious. A discontent born from the accident caused by Vettel at Fuji in 2007, when the two were not yet mates, and culminated in the famous Multi 21 episode.

Dominator of the last decade of Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton has a rather troubled history with several of his teammates. The first was Alonso at McLaren, a classic case of two cocks in a henhouse. The rivalry characterised the whole season - already difficult for McLaren because of the Spygate - and reached its peak when Alonso purposely blocked Hamilton's access to the pit stop before his last attempt in qualifying. Even with Rosberg the Briton had a complicated partnership, partly due to the fact that the two were playing for the title, and even the years at McLaren with Button were not without tension, although it never erupted.

...and older stories

Perhaps the most famous case of teammates on bad terms is that of Prost and Senna. One of the most famous rivalries of all time had a chapter in which the two were teammates at McLaren in 1988 and 1989. In both seasons the two fought for the title and developed a real internal war within the team, with allies, broken pacts and the famous incident in the Japanese GP. Prost, like Hamilton, had two other partnerships that were anything but serene: the one in the early 1980s with Arnoux at Renault - an all-French scenario like the one we will see in 2023 - and the one with Mansell at Ferrari.

Mansell himself also found himself in an internal team war with Nelson Piquet at Williams, who was playing for the championship. After two fiery seasons Piquet changed teams, calling Mansell 'an ignorant fool with an ugly, stupid wife'. In the previous decade there was also the peculiar case of Lauda and Reutemann, with the latter hired predicting that the former would not recover from his accident. Finding themselves mates the following season, when asked "Do you see Reutemann as a mate or a rival?" Lauda replied, "Neither".

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