Pierre Gasly visibly voiced his disagreement with Alpine’s team management after he was told to yield a position and a championship point to his teammate Esteban Ocon at Suzuka.
Earlier at the Japanese Grand Prix, Gasly, a new addition to the team in 2023 after leaving Red Bull’s driver academy, stated that he and fellow Frenchman Ocon have been getting along well at Alpine.
“There have been no problems whatsoever since the start of the year,” Gasly, 27, said to Agence France-Presse.
“We are very professional in our approach because we know that we need to work together to make the team progress and to try to have the best car possible.
“For everyone, the desire is to work hard to eventually fight for victories.”
That team spirit was put to the test during the final moments of Sunday’s Japanese GP when Gasly was told to let Ocon pass him for ninth place on the last corner of the last lap.
Labeling the move a “joke,” Gasly was seen making animated gestures from the cockpit, clearly displaying his frustration.
“They told me that if they decided to do the undercut with Esteban to help him during his race, we would swap positions,” he later disclosed to Canal Plus.
“On the last lap, I was asked to swap again. But I started in front, I had a better qualifying, my tyres were fresher at the end. For the rest, we will discuss it internally,” Gasly maintained.
However, he added that he couldn’t grasp the logic behind the team’s choice.
“For the team, whether we are ninth and tenth or tenth and ninth is the same thing,” Gasly noted. “And we never discussed this before the race.”
On the other hand, Ocon felt that the team’s command was justified.
“Towards the end of the race we looked to capitalise on our tyre advantage and Pierre’s pace by aiming for eighth place,” he explained.
“But in the end, we ran out of laps and pace and made the decision to swap the drivers around. Making these calls is never easy, but they are always made in the best interest of the team first and foremost.”
As for Gasly, he pointed out that the Renault-owned squad should focus on bigger challenges.
“It is certain that we are lacking compared to the top teams,” he stated. “There is McLaren in front of us, Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston. We have to find performance to fight for bigger points.”