Esteban Ocon addresses ‘negativity’ following collision with Pierre Gasly at Monaco Grand Prix

Following a difficult end to his Monaco Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon took to social media to address what he called “abuse and negativity” directed to him online following his opening-lap crash with teammate Pierre Gasly.

Shortly after the start to last Sunday’s Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, Ocon attempted a pass on Gasly, and the two Alpine drivers collided. The impact between the two teammates launched Ocon’s A524 into the air, before crashing down on the Monte Carlo streets. As a result of the damage to the floor of Ocon’s A524, his race was over.

Race stewards investigated the collision and found Ocon “wholly responsible,” issuing a ten second penalty. With Ocon having retired from the race, that penalty was converted to a five place grid drop, which the driver will serve at the next race.

Immediately following the incident Team Principal Bruno Famin spoke with French outlet CANAL+ and indicated there would be “consequences” for Ocon’s attempted pass. Those statements sparked speculation that Ocon would be benched for the Canadian Grand Prix, which is next weekend in Montreal.

Ocon apologized to the team internally, as well on social media.

However, the driver took to social media again to address the comments he has seen since Sunday. “While I have received many messages of support, I have been deeply saddened by the amount of abuse and negativity that I have received online regarding my character, my driving, and my career,” began the statement in part.

“I have always been a tough competitor, and, like most drivers, I’ve had my share of incidents. I have been lucky to race alongside talented and experienced teammates, including race winners Daniel [Ricciardo], Checo [Sergio Pérez] and Pierre, and a double champion in Fernando [Alonso],” continued Ocon.

“As teammates, we would often start races very close to each other which in some cases meant some tough battles on track, and sometimes contact,” added the Alpine driver. “Of course, I have made honest mistakes. We are not robots; we are athletes pushing ourselves to the limit every day to achieve our dreams of winning races.

“F1 is a sport where emotions run high, and passions run deep. I see and feel this every weekend at the track and on social media … the good and the bad,” continued Ocon. “But the misinformed statements and gross distortions that I have seen online in recent days about my ability to work with a team have been inaccurate, hurtful, and damaging.”

Ocon then concluded with a note about the incident, as well as an indication that he indeed will be in the car next week.

“I took responsibility for the incident on lap 1 last Sunday and, despite my DNF, I am glad the team added a point to the tally in what has been a difficult start to the season for all of us,” continued Ocon. “I respect Pierre as a teammate and as a competitor. We have always worked collaboratively and professionally inside the team, and this will continue to be the case.

“I’m looking forward to competing in Montreal, in front of the fantastic Canadian fans, and to the exciting opportunities the future holds.”

You can see the entire statement here:

The statement comes at what could be a critical time in Ocon’s career, as the driver is set to see his contract with Alpine expire at the end of the season. Ocon has been linked with a number of open seats for next year, as well as a potential return to Alpine, and you can see from his comments there is genuine concern that the incident in Monaco — as well as the aftermath — could impact his future prospects.

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