“He reminds me a lot of Alain”– Alpine’s boss reveals why Esteban Ocon was given such a long contract with the French constructors.
Esteban Ocon competing with the veteran Fernando Alonso head to head with Alpine this season has attracted him praises from everywhere, including his own team.
Rossi revealed that Alpine’s management is impressed by Ocon’s performances, and it propelled them to open early negotiations with him, giving him a contract extension till 2024.
“He is a great fine tuner; he reminds me a lot of Alain,” Rossi said. “He is very good at extracting the maximum out of the car, and it shows, constantly improving. He is damn fast too – give him any car he is fast, and he shows it every qualy. So that makes him an excellent driver.
“He is a good teammate. He is good with the rest of the team. When I say teammate it is not just to other driver, also the rest of the team. He is basically pushing everyone up. He is a great guy to have in the team.”
I don’t want to search for a driver like Esteban after two years
Alpine has previously made mistakes in not managing their long-term plans well, which is what the team doesn’t want to do in the coming years by losing a prospect like Ocon.
“It’s a three-year regulation period that opens up next year,” Rossi said. “We have a mid-to-long-term view of things at Renault. We want to be here for a long time, so we wanted to secure that first step.
“The first step is three years. We’ve seen enough of Esteban, and we know he is good. I don’t want to be here again, looking for another driver after two years. The recent past showed that it never really turns the right way – [if] you have a good driver, you want to keep them.
“So I think it’s good for us, it’s good for him. We have a long, long way to make progress; he buys into the project and adds credibility to our project.
“For me, it’s also a guarantee that we’re going to perform on the driver department. Esteban is arguably a top-10 driver minimum. So, we don’t make a big mistake here.
“For me it was a no brainer. It’s part of a long journey and Esteban fits into that mould quite well.”