Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon will get equal machinery at Alpine, as stated by Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi. Rossi acknowledged the credentials of Fernando Alonso as a two-time world champion but also made it clear that the young Frenchman will get equal treatment.
At the launch of Alpine's 2021 season challenger, Rossi said:
"The drivers have to be as fast as possible and will clearly challenge each other."
"That's like healthy competition and that's about it. There's no instruction and no number one driver. [A number one and number two contract] doesn't exist. I don't think it exists in many teams to be honest, at least not in ours."
Esteban Ocon looking forward to partnering with Fernando Alonso
Ocon, on his part, looks forward to partnering with Fernando Alonso and expects the relationship to work smoothly.
"I have always had a great relationship with Fernando, even when we were racing back together in '17 and '18,"
"I always had so much respect for what Fernando has done over the years and racing with him has always been very close, but very fun and very enjoyable."
"So yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to teaming up with him properly in an event."
"So far it's been a great collaboration and I expect it to be the same for the rest of the year."
When questioned if Alonso could potentially be a tougher opponent than Daniel Ricciardo, Ocon said:
"We will see. Fernando is a two-time world champion. It will be the first time that I work alongside a world champion so that's very interesting."
He also said:
"I expect Fernando to be ready. He had a lot of testing last year and with his experience and all that he's done over the years, I think straight away from the first race he will be on it. So yeah, I expect him to be a tough opponent."
2021 is a crucial year for Esteban Ocon. He has a chance to test himself against one of the greatest ever, and will have to perform at a high level every weekend. If he can't keep Fernando Alonso close throughout the season, it could mean that he loses his seat at Alpine next year.