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Formula 1 Canadian GP

Ocon denies Doohan's FP1 outing is a punishment for Monaco F1 incident

Esteban Ocon has rubbished suggestions that Jack Doohan taking his car for FP1 at Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix is punishment for his Monaco collision with Pierre Gasly.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team, in the garage

The Frenchman is leaving Alpine at the end of this year after he and the team announced this week that their futures were better set apart.

That decision came shortly after a controversial collision with Gasly on the opening lap of the Monte Carlo race, which left his team boss Bruno Famin warning that there would be consequences.

Intrigue about what action the team has taken, with their split for 2025 considered likely before the Monaco crash, was further fuelled when Alpine announced that reserve driver Doohan would be taking Ocon’s car for opening practice in Montreal.

PLUS: The worrying messaging in Alpine's F1 recovery plan

The timing of the decision is a break from the past, with Alpine having previously waited until the final races of the campaign to use its rookie practice runs.

But Ocon has laughed off reports stating that Alpine slotting in Doohan in Montreal was punishment for what happened – as he said there were clear competitive reasons for doing it here.

“I've seen that [punishment suggestion] a lot from the media, and it's not the case at all,” he said. “As a team we have to give two FP1s for rookies. And I'm giving mine to Jack here.

“It's a track that's going to be green to start with, with the new tarmac, and it's quite dirty at the moment. So, things need to be cleaned up a little bit.

“I got a five-place grid penalty as well, unfortunately for the race. So, my qualifying is a lot less important than usual. It's more the race trim.

“And, from a team point of view, we think we are going to have probably a more competitive car later in the year. So, for us, you know, to do that [run Doohan] early is a good thing, instead of doing it in Mexico, Abu Dhabi, like we usually do.”

Watch: F1 2024 Monaco GP Review – Leclerc Finally Breaks the Curse

Monaco fallout

While the Monaco crash was a factor in the timing of Ocon announcing he was leaving the team, it is understood that it was not the sole reason for them ending their relationship.

As Ocon explained, discussions between him and Alpine had been taking place for a while about their future together.

“We've been talking with the team for several months,” he said. “Alpine is a big group, Renault is a big group, and it's the kind of team that is not taking decisions on just a single race.

“We've been talking. We've agreed mutually to come to an end, basically, at the end of the contract.

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“I've spent five years inside this team. We had some amazing moments and [tougher] ones, but five years in terms of Formula 1 world is a long time. Definitely. And, yeah, I'm excited for the challenge ahead and excited to finish the collaboration on a high.”

Ocon said that he and Famin had spoken at length since what happened in Monaco and was clear that there was no lingering tension behind the scenes.

“I was at the factory for normal preparation before the weekend, and had a chat with Bruno,” he said. “We were just talking about a lot of things and there's no awkward moment, and there is no damage between our relationships altogether.

“Everything has been discussed. We move on, and we keep racing to try and do the best we can.”

Asked if there would be a change of approach in how he and Gasly race each other, Ocon said: “As a driver and with the team I have always followed the instructions I've been given to race. So, there have been no changes.”

Watch: The Future of Formula One - First Look at The 2026 F1 Regulations

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