Helmut Marko on Esteban Ocon Incident and His Approach to Resolving Such Issues

“We’ve had this twice at Red Bull Racing with team-mates getting in each other’s way."

by Sead Dedovic
Helmut Marko on Esteban Ocon Incident and His Approach to Resolving Such Issues
© Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images Sport

Esteban Ocon has disappointed Alpine fans, as well as Formula 1 fans in general, after the latest race where he collided with teammate Pierre Gasly. Few could be pleased with the approach of the Frenchman in the last race, which has recently raised concerns with his performances. The 26-year-old was immediately criticized by F1 experts, analysts, and fans after the race, which can certainly be demotivating. 

Ocon chose to apologize to his team after the race, but the question is how important that is at this moment. 

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko was one of those who reacted to Ocon's performance. The 81-year-old emphasized in a column for Speedweek that Red Bull had faced identical situations in 2010 and 2018. The Red Bull advisor confirmed that they immediately had discussions with the drivers after the races, telling them that such an approach is unacceptable.

“We’ve had this twice at Red Bull Racing with team-mates getting in each other’s way, once in 2018 with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in Baku, and once with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in 2010 in Turkey,” Marko wrote.

“In both cases, we summoned both drivers to the company and discussed it openly with them, making it clear to them that such collisions with team-mates are simply not acceptable."

Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon© Clive Rose/Getty Images Sport

Helmut Marko reflected on that time, recalling when Ricciardo left the team, emphasizing that there were no further incidents with Webber, as they acknowledged that such things should not be acceptable. Marko believes that in such situations, it is difficult to enforce any measures, as you need to confirm that the driver had the intention to do such a thing, which is hard to determine. 

If the driver says they misjudged the situation, there is nothing further to do. Marko then shifted the focus to Alpine, highlighting that this is not the first time this has happened, which can be even more concerning for the leadership of this team.

Pierre Gasly reacted

Gasly expressed his disappointment to the media, stating that he was taken aback by the incident and found it to be unnecessary. He emphasized the importance of avoiding such situations within the team, particularly between teammates, and described it as a disappointing turn of events. Gasly highlighted that there were clear instructions given before the race regarding strategy, with the trailing car expected to support the leading car throughout the race. 

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly© Richard Heathcote / Getty Images Sport

Ocon evidently had some particular ideas in mind that ultimately cost the team. Some are already speculating that Ocon could be fired from the team immediately, but it's difficult to truly expect such an outcome. However, there's little chance that Ocon will remain a part of this team for the next season in general, considering his form, especially after his recent performance. It's clear that the Frenchman needs to change something in his approach.

Instructions were not followed, leading to a missed opportunity for valuable points. Gasly stressed the need for a discussion to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, especially considering the importance of points in the season.

Esteban Ocon explains the situation: There was too much damage sustained

Esteban Ocon commented on the incident in the last race during a media interview, considering it an unfortunate occurrence. The Frenchman emphasized that there was too much damage to the car, and they were unable to return to the track. The gearbox was evidently the team's biggest issue, but they must quickly forget about the last race and focus on the upcoming challenges.

The 26-year-old has not been in ideal form since the beginning of the season, so he may be disappointed.

“Just it’s an unfortunate incident,” said Ocon.

“Obviously not good to be retiring the car with a long race after that. But yeah, we basically put the car back in the garage to try to repair.

Unfortunately there was too much damage sustained. And we were not able to go back again. So a chaotic first lap.

So if the damage wasn’t as bad as it was – unfortunately, the gearbox was the biggest damage – we would have been able to come back and be in P11. Gearbox, suspension arms, but the gearbox was the main problem."

We'll see what the future holds for Ocon and his fate. The Frenchman hasn't forgotten to apologize to the team for such a mistake, aware that he was wrong. Alpine's leaders have already expressed dissatisfaction with his approach, and we'll see if the Frenchman can correct his mistakes in the upcoming races.

Gasly has every right to be frustrated. Such a thing could undermine team spirit and atmosphere.

Helmut Marko Esteban Ocon Red Bull