How a fear of legal suit saved Esteban Ocon? - Inside Story of Esteban Ocon's Monaco incident

Esteban Ocon’s Monaco incident involving another Alpine car has reportedly triggered a lot of back door issues. A new media report reveals backdoor strategies and talks in Alpine F1.

Shubham Shekhar
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Esteban Ocon

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Esteban Ocon’s Monaco incident involving another Alpine car has reportedly triggered a lot of back door issues. After the incident, it was revealed that Ocon would part ways with Alpine at the end of the season but would not be benched for the Canadian Grand Prix. 

Now in the latest news report, it has been revealed that a fear of legal action saved Ocon from suspension in Canada. According to France's leading sports newspaper, L'Equipe, Alpine team boss Bruno Famin initially wanted Ocon to sit out the Montreal race. 

Famin's anger was evident on TV immediately after the Monaco incident, where he threatened "consequences" for Ocon's actions, fueling speculation about Ocon's suspension. However, a backlash on social media prompted Ocon to address the situation publicly. 

On Friday, he confirmed via social media that he would be racing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, countering the online abuse directed at him. By Monday, Alpine announced Ocon's departure at the end of the season, with his plans still uncertain.

Why did Famin fail to suspend Esteban Ocon?

L'Equipe further reported that Famin's desire to suspend Ocon required approval from Alpine's legal team. The legal department blocked the suspension over concerns it could provoke legal action from Ocon's camp, citing his "right to work."

In the aftermath of the Monaco crash, Ocon received a five-place grid drop for the Canadian Grand Prix. History shows that having a driver sit out to avoid a penalty is not unprecedented in Formula 1. For instance, in 2002, Sauber dropped Felipe Massa from the United States Grand Prix after he received a 10-place grid penalty in Italy. 

Heinz-Harald Frentzen replaced Massa for that race, but Massa returned for the subsequent Japanese Grand Prix before being ultimately replaced for the 2003 season. Famin's intention to suspend Ocon as a form of punishment, rather than a strategic maneuver to avoid a penalty, would have been a more controversial and unprecedented step. As it stands, Ocon will continue to race for Alpine until the season's end, despite the internal conflicts and forthcoming departure.

Formula 1 Alpine Canadian GP Esteban Ocon