Ocon: ‘Difficult’ to see Abiteboul leave Alpine F1

Esteban Ocon says he was “definitely sad” to see Cyril Abiteboul leave the helm of Renault F1, but insists the new Alpine entity is “in good hands” with its new management.

As Renault revived its legendary Alpine brand, the change was accompanied by a management reshuffle that saw Abiteboul the Enstone squad that he had guided since Renault’s return to F1 as a works outfit in 2016.

The Frenchman was also the man who recruited Ocon, bringing the young charger back to the grid after a year on the sidelines.

“It was definitely very sad to see Cyril leave,” Ocon said. “Cyril has [led] the project of the team for many, many years, and we were starting to see the results coming, with podiums, with good results, with top fives.

“And to see him leave at that time is something difficult, and I wish him the best for the future.

“Because he’s really a good guy, and one person that I really appreciate, and that has helped me to come where I am today. So yeah, I wish him the best.”

Alpine efforts will be managed chief executive Laurent Riossi and racing director and former Suzuki MotoGP boss Davide Brivio, with the latter reporting directly to the former.

Ocon has yet to meet in person with his new bosses, but the Zoom calls he’s enjoyed with both Rossi and Brivio have left him with a positive impression.

“We haven’t been to Enstone, unfortunately, it’s a little bit complicated to travel and with all the restrictions we haven’t been able,” he said. “But we kept in touch a lot on the phone with all the members of the team, with the new bosses as well.

“We look to be in good hands, they are really motivated and really humble, and they are trying to help as much as they can.

“So that’s all very positive. But yeah, as soon as we are going to be able to travel again to the UK, we will do so.”

    Read also: Ocon aiming for Ricciardo-like ‘step up’ with Renault in 2021

Ocon has no doubts about Rossi or Brivio’s motivation, let alone their credentials.

“So I had them on the phone two times already, Laurent Rossi and Davide Brivio, we met by videoconference,” he added. “And then we spoke for a very long time.

“As I said they are very, very motivated, they are big fans of motorsport.

“Obviously Davide is very successful in Moto GP, in his world, and he is hungry to develop the team even a further step. So I had a good feeling, and I feel we are in good hands, so this is good news.”

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