Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon let Alpine down by colliding with each other in Saturday’s Sao Paulo Sprint Race the Renault-owned Formula 1 team’s boss Otmar Szafnauer said.
Alpine are in a tight battle with McLaren for fourth overall but France’s Ocon and Spain’s two-times world champion Alonso will line up for Sunday’s grand prix at Interlagos 17th and 18th respectively.
Alonso was handed a five-second time penalty, and two points on his licence, after his car struck the rear of Ocon’s in the second clash on the opening lap of a race to set Sunday’s starting grid.
The Spaniard had to pit for a new front wing, with Szafnauer saying at the time that “unless there is a safety car Fernando’s race is over”.
The first collision, at turn four, caused significant damage to the floor of Ocon’s car. At the end of the race, after Ocon had stepped out, the car caught fire due to a suspected fuel leak.
“I was in the front so the one fighting is not me,” said Ocon of the incident. “I was trying to attack the McLarens.”
Szafnauer said the team were extremely disappointed: “We are extremely disappointed with today’s Sprint Qualifying result, which has put us in a worse position on the grid for the main 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 team’s efforst
THE TWO ALPINES TOUCH!!! 😳😲
A disastrous Sprint for the Enstone team, as both drivers picked up damage from multiple moments of contact with each other 😩
Leaving Alonso to finish in P15, Ocon P18….#BrazilGP #F1Sprint pic.twitter.com/DlyzThN1mX
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 12, 2022
The Alpine team boss lamented that their two drivers showed scant respect for the “fantastic efforts of everyone in the team by avoiding on-track incidents and compromising the entire team’s performance. Both drivers have let the team down.
“I expect more from them [in the race] 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,” added Szafnauer.
Alonso said of his race: “It was not the Sprint Qualifying we wanted today. Unfortunately, I touched with Esteban on the first lap of the race and we lost the momentum from there. With the deficit lost in the pit-stop, the Sprint is too short to recover places.
“On the positives, the car is very fast, and we have good race pace, so all is not lost this weekend just yet. We start in fifteenth for the race on Sunday and we have a chance to score points and that’s the goal.
“We both tried to do our best and unfortunately today it didn’t work out. We will think about it tomorrow and try to score points for the team,” added the Spanish veteran, who competes in his 355th Grand Prix this afternoon.
Next season Alonso is leaving Alpine and joining Aston Martin, whose two drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel also clashed on track during the Sprint Race on Saturday. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)