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Alpine prioritising "professionalism" in search for Ocon replacement

Alpine is prioritising "professionalism" in its search for Esteban Ocon's replacement at the French Formula 1 team, rather than simply unite two drivers with a good existing relationship.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Ocon and Alpine announced prior to the Canadian Grand Prix that they would part ways at the end of 2024, in the wake of his first-lap clash with team-mate Pierre Gasly at Monaco.

Although Ocon and Gasly have a well-publicised fractious relationship, the two vowed to work together for the good of the team when partnered together at the start of 2023.

However, they have both contributed to various flashpoints throughout their 18 months as team-mates, the clash at Monaco being one of them.

Team principal Bruno Famin is thus working on finding a replacement for Ocon, as the team is also looking to retain Gasly for 2025 despite suffering from a poor start to this season.

Speaking to Sky F1, Famin stated that his priority was not to find two drivers who already get along to avoid the Ocon/Gasly issues, but instead focus on signing "professional" drivers willing to work together.

"I think the relationship doesn't matter. The professionalism matters. We need professional drivers," Famin stated.

"They need to work together. It's part of the job to be able to work with his team-mate to get the best for the team."

Famin stated that reserve driver Jack Doohan was one of the drivers under consideration at the team; the Australian youngster was given an FP1 drive at Ocon's expense in Montreal, but the wet conditions hampered his running.

Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Bruno Famin, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Doohan has been undergoing a test programme in older Alpine machinery, having taken a year out of racing after finishing third in last year's F2 championship.

Sauber duo Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu have also been linked to the team, as has Alpine World Endurance Championship driver and Mercedes F1 reserve Mick Schumacher - although the German is believed to be an outsider for the drive.

"I think he's an option, for sure. Jack is an option. We are preparing him. He was testing in [Austria] not long time ago and yeah, he has a quite heavy testing programme - and we're happy with that," Famin continued.

"Let's see how he develops. He is one possibility among others, but he's one possibility for sure.

Ocon explained that his relationship with Famin was not damaged by their decision to part ways, despite the ex-Peugeot chief's furious admonishment of Ocon's Monaco actions on Canal+.

"I talked with Bruno; I was at the factory for normal preparation before the weekend, and had a chat with Bruno. We were just talking about a lot of things," Ocon said.

"There's no awkward moment, there is no damage between our relationships altogether. Everything has been discussed, and we move on, and we keep racing to try and do the best we can."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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