Alonso and Ocon came together twice on the opening lap of last Saturday’s sprint race at Interlagos, sending both drivers off the field.
An initial side-by-side moment in turn 4 was followed by contact in the straight as they completed the lap, with Alonso crashing into the right rear tire of Ocon’s car.
It caused Alonso to suffer front wing damage forcing him to pit and also received a penalty for causing the collision. Ocon also fell back in the sprint, leaving them 16th and 17th on the grid for the race.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said the drivers had let the team down over the incidents, citing the battle for P4 in the championship against McLaren. But Alonso and Ocon recovered to score both points in Sunday’s race, finishing fifth and eighth respectively.
Alpine CEO Rossi spoke to the drivers about what happened at Interlagos and told the drivers they could “race until the team is in worse shape, which happened last weekend.”
“I reminded them of our contracts and I reminded them that I have plenty of drivers who are eager to race in their place, and it would be a shame to finish the year with two other drivers, even if it costs me a lot. ” Rossi said.
“They took responsibility and did a fantastic job [on Sunday]. It happens to everyone I think. That’s what makes those drivers incredible champions, they have this killer instinct.
“Sometimes it goes a little too far. That’s my role too, to put them back in a better space.”
Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine F1, attends the press conference
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar/Motorsport Images
During the race, Ocon allowed Alonso to overtake him in the final stint after a safety car period, after telling the team he wanted to pass Sebastian Vettel before making the switch.
It aided Alonso’s late charge to fifth, increasing Alpine’s buffer over McLaren in the team standings to 19 points ahead of the final in Abu Dhabi.
Rossi said no firm team orders were being imposed on the Alpine drivers in light of what happened on Saturday, but they were told they would be deployed if necessary.
“We told them if they have to follow orders, but there were no team orders,” said Rossi.
“We have two different strategies, we couldn’t predict which would be the best outcome because it depends on the race conditions.
“But based on the pace and the conditions, we told them if they have to, we’ll impose swaps or things like that, and they have to stick with it, which they did, which was perfect.”