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Ocon makes light of Alpine exit and wants 'to finish on a high'

France's Esteban Ocon will leave Alpine at the end of the 2024 Formula One season (CLIVE ROSE)
France's Esteban Ocon will leave Alpine at the end of the 2024 Formula One season (CLIVE ROSE)

Esteban Ocon on Thursday made light of his axe from Alpine and declared he will be doing his best for the team again in this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

Shrugging aside the acrimony following his opening lap crash with team-mate and compatriot Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix, the Frenchman said he had always followed team instructions and wanted to leave on a high note.

"I've spent five years with the team and we've had some amazing moments," he said. "But five years is a long time in Formula One.

"Now, I am excited about the challenge ahead and to finish this collaboration on a high."

Team chief Bruno Famin was furious with Ocon after his Monaco collision with Gasly and said there would be "consequences".

Within days, it was announced that Ocon will leave Alpine at the end of the year, after a five-year association that saw him claim his maiden and sole victory to date.

Ocon and Gasly have had a sometimes strained relationship as team-mates and have collided three times, twice resulting in the elimination of both cars.

Asked about his behaviour of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, Ocon said: "As a driver, with the team, I always followed the instructions I have been given, there have been no changes and what I want to do is try the best I can for the rest of the season to finish on a high the story we've started with the team.

"That is very important for me. I joined the team in 2020 and I am always trying to do the best I can - and that will remain."

Ocon referred to a statement he had issued after the Monaco event in which he claimed that Alpine's decision not to retain him next year was not a result of the opening lap crash.

"I said pretty much everything in my statement and we were talking with the team for several months…. Alpine is a big group. Renault is a big group. And it is not the kind of team that is taking decisions on just a single race.

"I talked with Bruno, I was in the factory with normal preparation for the weekend, and we were talking about a lot of things. There was no awkward moment, there is no damage in our relationship. Everything has been discussed and we move on and keep racing."

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