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EXCLUSIVE: Coulthard reveals reason Ocon and Alpine might have split

EXCLUSIVE: Coulthard reveals reason Ocon and Alpine might have split

EXCLUSIVE: Coulthard reveals reason Ocon and Alpine might have split

Kimberley Hoefnagel and Sam Cook
EXCLUSIVE: Coulthard reveals reason Ocon and Alpine might have split

Former Formula 1 race winner David Coulthard has suggested a potential reason for Alpine's announcement that Esteban Ocon will leave the team at the end of the 2024 season.

Ocon has driven with the Enstone-based team since 2020, and has claimed three podiums and one race victory in his F1 career to date.

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After a huge crash between Ocon and Pierre Gasly in Monaco, team principal Bruno Famin stated to Sky Sports' Ted Kravitz that he was going to take drastic measures.

Gasly and Ocon kicked off the Monaco GP from P10 and P11 respectively and, as the two Alpine drivers approached the last corner before the tunnel section of the track, Ocon tried to pass Gasly on the inside, whilst leaving him with little space.

This led to an inevitable lap one collision, sending Ocon’s car flying into the air and critically damaging his suspension on the way down.

Gasly managed to score his first point of the season, whilst Ocon had to watch the rest of the race from the garage, before apologising for putting his team's race in jeopardy.

Esteban Ocon will leave Alpine at the end of 2024
Bruno Famin warned of 'consequences' after Monaco

Why is Ocon leaving Alpine?

Team boss Famin was furious after the crash, and his promise of 'consequences' now seems to have come true, in the form of Ocon and Alpine mutually agreeing not to extend the Frenchman's contract.

Coulthard, who himself is a 13-time grand prix winner, believes that a clause in Ocon's contract may have ended up causing the team to act.

“It was a racing accident of which the stewards have spoken. If anyone should be angry, it should be the team," Coulthard stated in an exclusive interview with GPFans before news of Ocon's departure was announced.

"It costs them damage and whatever else it costs them. The worst thing you can do is crash into your team-mate, I know, I’ve done it myself.

“It then comes down to contracts. They could have the right within the contract to stand him down if he does something against the instructions of the team. He'll know what his contract is.

"Every contract is largely speaking the same, but with some little quirks here and there, like performance clauses and things like that.

“So, if the team has that right, and if the team is considering not renewing his contract for next year, then it gives them a chance to look at Jack Doohan or whoever.

"Sometimes you've got to rip the band aid off. So, if they've already decided he's not part of it, why not find out earlier in the season whether Jack can step up?”

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Problems within Alpine

Alpine are currently sat in ninth in the constructors' standings, having only collected two points from the first eight races.

The team from Enstone has been struggling to perform all season, and Coulthard is convinced that their driver lineup isn’t their biggest problem.

“I would have thought that the biggest problem for Alpine, in the short term, is not actually the quality of the drivers," he added

"The performance of the car is not what we know the Enstone team can deliver. It's going to take restructure, leadership and engineering capability. And yeah, maybe they feel having two French drivers in a French team is just a bit too French. Let’s wait and see.”

READ MORE: Who could replace Esteban Ocon at Alpine? Potential new drivers RANKED

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Formula 1 Alpine Esteban Ocon 2024 season David Coulthard Monaco GP
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