New Alpine recruit Pierre Gasly has slated media attempts to "create a story" out of his past relationship with Esteban Ocon.
The two French drivers will be team-mates this season after Gasly made the move to the Enstone-based outfit to replace Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso.
Whilst Gasly and Ocon were all smiles when the partnership was announced, their junior careers were blighted by an intense rivalry.
This has been brought back to the fore ahead of the new campaign but Gasly has been keen to dismiss fears of any bitterness within the team.
“You're always going to have these talks, and I feel like the media is trying to create a story out of it," Gasly told GPFans in an end-of-year interview.
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“It’s no secret to anyone that our relationship has had ups and downs over the years. We were extremely close. Esteban is the guy I’ve known the longest in this paddock.
“I’ve known him since I was six years old. Now we are 26 and the kids we were at the time compared to the young guys, adolescents, young men.
"[At] 26, you're a proper man, you have full control on your life, different responsibilities.
“We've changed a lot and since we arrived in F1, we have definitely cleared some dust.
“He's focused on his career, I'm focused on mine, and we know the responsibilities of representing the biggest car manufacturer in France.
“We're not fighting for a regional championship or a national championship back in the days in karting, and we understand that.
“I have no worry that we know how to really work together. That's for his benefit, that's for my benefit, that's for the benefit of the team, and I'm not worried about that."
Additional reporting by Ewan Gale