Gasly joining me as an Alpine teammate is a ‘great story’

In recent years, the couple had a difficult relationship. However, Okon insists they can work together to help the team progress and overcome any past differences. the sentiments were also echoed by Ghasli.

Okan suggested the focus should be on how two drivers who grew up together are now driving a marque that also hails from the same region.

Asked by if they could work together, Ocon said: “Yes, we will. And honestly, I think it’s a great story.

“I mean, we started go-karting together. It’s pretty crazy. Of course, I have many fantastic memories with Pierre when we were children.

“And you know, we lost ourselves a little bit. He played in different championships, he went to Japan, I stayed in Europe, different teams, different times.

“But I think it would be great to collaborate together. Now it’s not just me from Normandy, all three of us are from Normandy, me, Pierre and Brand.

“So if we can get this team over the top and make Normandy win, that would be something special.”

He added: “I think there are some great things we can create there. The minimum for us is to do a perfect job, obviously for the team, and work well together. But I’m sure everything will be fine.

“You always want to beat your team-mate when you’re in Formula 1. It’s the same rivalry as any team-mate because there’s no French championship or French/Spanish championship, so it’s good.”

Pierre Gasly, Scuderia AlphaTauri, Nicolas Latifi, Williams Racing, Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo: FIA Pool

Okon said the pair already had a brief opportunity to talk: “We talked. We had a joint photo shoot. We had several interviews. We spent some time talking. Yes, it will be fun.”

He also downplayed any suggestion that his experience with the team would give him a head start in terms of leading A523 development.

“It’s not something I focus too much on. It is important for me to maintain the work that I am doing, the development, the new floor that we have brought to Singapore, I am also the leader of this ward.

“Fernando [Alonso] also speaks his mind, I speak my mind, and it is our work together that makes something important.

“I will definitely have more experience, I know how the car works. But it is important for the team that Pierre is very quick to adjust.”

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