Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says their drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon will have an equal status in the new 201 F1 seasons and that there is no clause in anyone’s contract that would guarantee any of the drivers the status of number one driver.
After two years outside of Formula 1, Alonso is returning to the rebranded Renault Alpine team, where his teammate will be Ocon, who handled Ricciardo better in the second half of last season. Although Alonso is the main star of the team due to his great experience and numerous qualities he has shown in his F1 career so far, Rossi assures that there is no number one driver in Alpine.
“Drivers need to be as fast as possible and they are sure to challenge each other,” Rossi said. “It’s a healthy competition and that’s it. There are no instructions or driver number one. ” "It simply does not exist.
I don't think there is something like that in a lot of teams, to be honest, at least not in our team. " Ocon recalled a duel with Alonso while driving for Force India / Racing Point in 2017 and 2018, and the Spaniard was at McLaren then using Honda (2017) and Renault (2018) engines.
“I’ve always had a great relationship with Fernando, even when we raced together in 2017 and 2018,” Ocon said. "I've always had a lot of respect for everything he's done over the years, and racing with him has always been very close, but also a lot of fun."
"I'm definitely looking forward to being teammates." "So far, our collaboration has been great and I expect the same for the rest of the year."
Although Alonso has spent the last two years outside of Formula 1 and will turn 40 in the summer, Ocon believes the Spaniard will be a threat from the first race.
"We will see, Fernando is a two-time world champion. It will be my first time working with a world champion and it is very interesting. ” "I expect Fernando to be ready. He tested a lot last year, and with the experience, he has because of everything he has done over the years, I think he will be ready from the first race.
” "So I expect him to be a tough opponent." Ocon achieved the first podium of his career in the penultimate race last season when he finished second behind winner Perez at the Sakhira Grand Prix, and in their last joint season in 2018, Alonso finished a point ahead of Ocon in the drivers ’standings.