irony of the misunderstanding with Alpine?
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A Formula 1 race is full of tension due to the ambition of each driver to reach the best possible position at the finish. For this reason, through the only possible means for engineers to communicate with them, through radios, situations can become somewhat contentious, depending on the circumstances they are going through.
That’s what happened with Fernando Alonso and Alpine at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, where the Spaniard was racing in sixth position, but his teammate, Esteban Ocon, was approaching with a pace that threatened his place. It must be taken into account that the expressions and tone used by the radio when going over 300 km/h without knowing what can be found in front of it can appear very aggressive in front of the public, as recognized by Carlos Sainz in an interview with DAZN F1and it is possible that this is what happened to his compatriot.
In the Vuelta 38just six to see the checkered flag, the double world champion was running sixth over 12 laps on hard tyres, while Ocon took advantage of 5 laps on medium tires six seconds behind, having passed Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly in a maneuver reminiscent of Mika Hakkinen with Michael Schumacher in the year 2000.
It was then that from the pit wall they indicated the gap he had to his partner, to which he replied: “Yes, yes, okay. Let me know if you want me to let it pass [a Ocon]”.
“After all that phantom menace, I’ve had the whole race, now I get it,” he exclaimed to his track engineer before being reminded of his target lap to finish.
This moment of tension probably came from the nervousness that stems from racing at full speed in a Formula 1 single-seater, even if it raises doubts about the treatment reserved by Alpine for its pilot, since, as confirmed during the break summer, Fernando Alonso will leave to those of Enstone to start a new project with Aston Martin from 2023.
Additionally, the France team boss has acknowledged that they are now focusing on Esteban Ocon as the first driver, as that is what he said when asked what will happen with the Alpine’s second headquarters.
“Esteban is a great talent, he can lead the team, and I’m sure he will do better every time. He already has a win, and this year he also scored good points with us,” said the American. “Next season he will have learned even more.”
During the race itself, the man from Oviedo seems to have repeatedly asked what the target was, in reference to lap times, and although at one point he did not receive an answer, they informed its pilot in the 44 laps at Spa-Francorchamps.
At the end of the test, in the fragments provided by Formula 1 itself on its YouTube channel, the team was heard only on the radio congratulating the Spaniard for the good joint result he achieved.
“Checkered flag, sorry for the difficulty. You did it with flying colors, you maxed the points today, thank you,” his engineer said when no response was visible as they had cut off communication.
It could all be a misunderstanding, since it is obvious that the teams intend to add the maximum points in each race to finish in the highest position of the constructors’ classification, which grants a greater economic prize, although that seeing that to let Ocon pass they would have reaped in the same way a sixth and seventh placesopens the sea of doubts on the storm that has hit Alpine since the announcement of the departure of Fernando Alonso.
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