Esteban Ocon has hit back at departing Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso’s claim that “only the number 14 car” breaks down in 2022.
A frustrated Alonso intends to get his Aston Martin career up and running as quickly as possible by testing the green car in the post-Abu Dhabi test.
“I think our legal teams are discussing that now,” said Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer. “Ask me in Brazil.”
The Renault-owned team may grant the 41-year-old’s wish, as his frustration with reliability problems is now spilling over into regular headlines.
“In Honda’s first year we had 72 grid position penalty at the end of the year, something like that, but what happened as that both Honda cars stopped.
“This year only the number 14 car stops.”
Frenchman Ocon, who has had a smooth relationship with Alonso at Alpine, disagrees with that narrative.
“My gearbox broke at Imola,” he said. “The car broke at Silverstone and I retired in Singapore. My car also breaks.
“I have changed six engines like him. Obviously his broke in Mexico, but we are on the same number of engines,” Ocon added.
If there is a disparity between Alonso and Ocon’s reliability problems, team boss Szafnauer insists it’s just bad luck.
“We don’t always have the same people preparing Alonso and Ocon’s engines,” he said. “But the probability that the problem is always on one side is not zero.
“I remember when I was at Honda, (Takuma) Sato had 13 breakdowns in a year and (Jenson) Button had none. Just like now, it’s a matter of luck.”
Alonso isn’t sure about that.
“We’re just unprepared,” he said before departing Mexico. “The engine just can’t finish races.
“It can’t just be bad luck if you have to change six or seven engines and you still don’t finish races.”