Alpine’s Spanish driver Fernando Alonso drives in the pit lane during the second practice session at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace racetrack, also known as Interlagos, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 12, 2022, ahead of the Formula One Brazil Grand Prix. — AFP pic
SAO PAULO, Nov 13 — Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon let Alpine down by colliding with each other in Saturday’s Sao Paulo sprint, the Renault-owned Formula One 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 in a very tight and competitive championship fight for fourth place… an objective for which over 1,000 staff are tirelessly working and striving towards,” he said.
“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.”
Alonso is leaving Alpine at the end of the season and joining Aston Martin, whose two drivers also clashed on track on Saturday. — Reuters