F1 News

rossi on statements ocon second driver

Alpine CEO nuances statements about 'second driver' Ocon

12 March at 15:24
Last update 12 March at 17:17
  • GPblog.com

Laurent Rossi has qualified some statements he made in 2021 when Esteban Ocon came to the team. The Alpine CEO stated at the time that Esteban Ocon "may not be a guaranteed world champion, but at least an excellent second driver".

Ocon signed a three-year contract at Alpine in 2021, where he got the returning Fernando Alonso as a teammate. At the time, Rossi did not necessarily see the Frenchman as championship material, but saw in him an "excellent second driver". At the Beyond the Grid-podcast, he nuanced his words, but at the same time did not take them back.

"There’s no mystery about the fact that I’ve very quickly tried to make Esteban feel comfortable in the team," Rossi says, looking back to the moment Ocon joined the team. He refers to the fact that the driver's Formula 1 career has never been linear. "Every single year almost he was told ‘that’s it, that’s over, that’s the end of the road with us and you need to find another gig next year'," the CEO adds.

For this reason, Alpine decided to offer Ocon a three-year contract so that he did not have to constantly fear for his place. "To be honest, nobody wanted to come to Alpine, let’s be clear, so it was as good a driver as we could get," says the Frenchman.

Alpine CEO nuances statements about Ocon

He stands by the statements he made about Ocon in 2021, but does nuance them. According to Rossi, his words were misinterpreted. "I’ve always said Esteban is at very least a very good second driver. Everyone interpreted that in different ways," he continued.

"But when I say that, it’s like there’s no one and two at Ferrari, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people think there’s a two. There’s no one and two at Mercedes, and that’s hard to figure out who’s the two there to be honest. And I think Esteban would be one of those two, whichever person you would pick in both of those teams, so that’s what I meant by that," Rossi concluded.