Alpine admits it needs to improve communication after F1 team orders row

Pierre Gasly was left angry after the Suzuka race, having been told on the final lap to slow down and let team-mate Esteban Ocon through to take ninth place.

Alpine had put in the request because it had swapped its drivers around in a bid to see if Gasly could close down and chase Fernando Alonso, who was running ahead of them on the road.

Gasly was upset at the late position switch because he felt the situation was unnecessary and that there had been no mention of it happening beforehand.

Interim team principal Bruno Famin has completed a deeper dive into the circumstances of what happened and has accepted that the pitwall could have done a better job in making things clearer to Gasly.

However, he stands by the decisions that were made that day because he says the focus is always on trying to help the team overall.

“Our priority, first and foremost, is to score as many points as possible at any given race weekend,” he said ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix.

“We saw the opportunity for Pierre, with fresher tyres, to try to fight for eighth place. We had to try.

“Our communication with him may not have been optimal and in the future we will make sure that it is. Both drivers are clearly motivated for success and maximising the team result and I’m happy this is the case.”

Gasly is more philosophical about what happened now too, having sat down and discussed events with the team after the race.

“Sometimes emotions do spill over and, of course, as a driver I want to push to the limit and achieve the best result possible,” he said.

“I was definitely frustrated in the aftermath, but as a team we were able to discuss the strategy and execution. And what is most important is to maximise the overall team result at any given weekend.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Qualifying target

Alpine was left battling for the lower points position in Japan because it was recovering from lowly grid positions, with both Gasly and Ocon having been knocked out in Q2.

The team thinks it needs to focus more on improving its single-lap pace if it is to capitalise on the strong form it thinks its A523 car has.

Gasly said: “While we came away with a strong outcome, we again did not maximise our single-lap pace on Saturday and that meant we exited in Q2.

“It’s something we must work on as we need to benefit from a better starting position to give ourselves the best chance on Sundays.”

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Famin added: “We recovered from both cars exiting Q2 on Saturday and converted tough starting spots into double points. Esteban was caught up in a start melee and that is common when you start in the middle of the grid.

“While he did a good job to climb back to the points, we must do a better job and strive to have both cars in Q3 to be better placed on the grid and avoid these types of incidents.”

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