In the aftermath of the Japanese Grand Prix, Alpine’s team boss, Bruno Famin, has come forward to defend the controversial team order that saw Pierre Gasly instructed to let teammate Esteban Ocon pass on the race’s final lap, sparking Gasly’s outrage.
Pierre Gasly was ordered to let Esteban Ocon pass him during the final lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, leading to a heated exchange between Gasly and his race engineer. Gasly, who had been ahead for most of the race, was left baffled by the decision. Alpine’s team boss, Bruno Famin, justified the decision, stating it was in the best interest of the team, aiming to maximize points.
Alpine’s Pierre Gasly started ahead of Esteban Ocon and maintained his lead for a significant portion of the race. However, strategic pit stops saw positions change, with Ocon eventually moving ahead. The team’s decision to let Ocon undercut Gasly was part of a strategy to not lose time, as Gasly explained to the media. But the real drama unfolded on the final lap when Gasly, on fresher rubber and having failed to pass Fernando Alonso, was instructed to yield to Ocon.
Gasly’s response was one of disbelief and frustration. He exclaimed:
“Wait, what the ****, mate? You’re kidding me. What are you saying? I was faster. I’m on fresher rubber. I would’ve overtaken him anyway.”
“Despite my objections, I complied with the order. It was a tough moment for me, and honestly, I thought it was a complete joke.”
Esteban Ocon, on the other hand, saw the move as “good teamwork,” aiming to maximize the team’s points. He acknowledged that there are lessons to be learned and discussions to be had.
Bruno Famin, Alpine’s team boss, shed light on the decision, explaining that the team was trying to capitalize on Gasly’s tire advantage and pace by targeting eighth place.
“The opportunity was a close one and we decided to swap positions on track with a view for maximising the team result by giving Pierre the chance to chase eighth place,” Famin said.
He further emphasized that such decisions are never easy but are always made with the team’s best interest in mind.