Otmar Szafnauer slams Alonso and Ocon: ‘Both drivers have let the team down’

Otmar Szafnauer looks at Fernando Alonso. Austin, October 2022. Credit: Alamy
Otmar Szafnauer looks at Fernando Alonso. Austin, October 2022. Credit: Alamy

Otmar Szafnauer has not held back in his criticism of his Alpine drivers after the pair clashed on track during the Sao Paulo sprint race.

Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso started P6 and P7 respectively but would go on to finish P17 an P18 after twice coming together during the 24-lap race.

In the opening lap, Alonso made a move around the outside of his team-mate at Turn 4 only for the two to make contact but while the damage was minimal, the same could not said for their next coming together.

Approaching the pit lane straight, Alonso enjoyed the benefit of a tow behind his team-mate and with Ocon’s car underperforming having suffered damage in the earlier incident, the Spaniard clipped the rear of his team-mate and shattered his own front wing.

Alonso was forced to return to the pits to replace the broken part and emerged at the back of the grid. Ocon had not got away scot free either with the damage causing him to fall down the grid. The two Alpines went from inside the points to practically at the back after an embarrassing outing.

Afterwards, Alonso referenced his upcoming move to Aston Martin by saying he had “one more race and it’s finally over” while the stewards judged he was wholly at fault and handed him a five-second penalty along with two penalty points.

Team boss Szafnauer said he was “extremely disappointed” with the result and blamed both driver for letting the team down.

“We are extremely disappointed with today’s Sprint result, which has put us in a worse position on the grid for tomorrow’s main race,” he said, as per The Race.

“We are in a very tight and competitive championship fight for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship; an objective for which over 1,000 staff are tirelessly working and striving towards.

“Frankly, both Esteban and Fernando must do a better job to compliment the fantastic efforts of everyone in the team by avoiding on-track incidents and compromising the entire team’s performance.

“Today, both drivers have let the team down. I expect more from them tomorrow where we must do everything we can to recover some points from the weekend for the Championship.

“We aim to ensure we go to Abu Dhabi next weekend in a position where we can reach our season goals.”

Alpine are five points ahead of McLaren in the battle for P4 but with Lando Norris finishing seventh and Daniel Ricciardo rising from P14 to P11, it is very much advantage McLaren going into Sunday’s race.

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