Ocon 'sad' to see Alonso leave Alpine, names 'good friend' as ideal replacement

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Esteban Ocon admits he is "sad" to see Fernando Alonso leave Alpine at the end of this Formula 1 season.

After the Hungarian Grand Prix, the double world champion sent a shockwave through the paddock by announcing a move to Aston Martin in 2023.

And giving his first reaction on Thursday at Spa, Ocon admits he was as surprised as anyone to hear of Alonso's decision.

"It's sad to see Fernando leave," he told Formula1.com. "We were and we are teaming up very nicely, there is a great atmosphere in the team so yeah, it's a bit sad.

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"We are progressing and going where we wanted and we have to keep that going for the rest of the year.

"We're still going to race with him in 2023, he's not going to be far but he for sure will be missed at the team."

As for who his teammate will be next season, the Frenchman admitted he won't play an active role in guiding Alpine's decision, but did have a driver in mind. 

Ocon Schumacher ImolaGP

“I am not really discussing that inside the team,” said Ocon.

“I completely trust Laurent [Rossi, CEO] and Otmar [Szafnauer, team principal], the bosses, they are going to be pretty busy. I am sure they received hundreds of calls for that seat.

“No, I am not into that at all.

“What I would like is for Mick [Schumacher] to race with me, that is clear cause he is my good friend, but that is not going into the bosses’ ear. I’ll let them decide.”

But regardless, Ocon maintains his focus is on ensuring Alpine's current progress continues as he likely assumes a lead driver role in the future.

“It doesn’t matter who is next to me, I will keep the job I’m doing now that I’m doing with my team. Keeping on understanding the car and the progress we’ve made in 2022 has been huge," he said.

“I’m a very different driver to what I’ve been. I know a lot more now about the team and the car and how to use the machine I have in my hands. I’m happy with where that’s going.

“As long as I’m happy with the performance and how that’s going, there’s no reason to change or worry about the other side.”

Race winner Esteban Ocon FRA Alpine F1 Team celebrates in parc ferme with team mate Fernando Alonso ESP Alpine F1 Team