Pierre Gasly will join Esteban Ocon in the Alpine F1 team in 2023. The French duos within the same team have sometimes given rise to eventful episodes. The journalist Jean-Louis Moncet returns to the most stirring tricolor associations in the history of the discipline.
How will the future Alpine F1 tandem, made up of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, work in 2023? This is a question that everyone is asking, because the relationship between the two Normans has not always been a long calm river! In the history of France in Formula 1, some of our compatriots have been neighbors within a Grand Prix team, but only briefly. In contrast, other famous boy duets have laid the foundations for some very eventful associations.
At the end of the 1970s, the very beginning of the 1980s, the two well-established French teams (Ligier and Renault) did not plan to hire foreign drivers. The best association was part of Renault-Sport’s (now Alpine F1) objective when Gérard Larrousse, the team principal, considered pairing René Arnoux with Jean-Pierre Jabouille. Constructive project if ever there was one: in Jabouille, the technician-developer par excellence, added Arnoux, a relentless attacker, without a second thought. Jean-Pierre returned impeccable cars at the end of the grand prix, René demanded so much of them that they sometimes ended in bad shape.
The most explosive duo within this same Renault team came in 1981 when Alain Prost joined “les Jaunes” as they were nicknamed. Jabouille was succeeded by another excellent developer, but also an outstanding striker who upset everything in his path, including Arnoux who was destabilized by it according to Gérard Larrousse. Everything exploded in 1982 when, with the aim of winning a world title for Prost, Arnoux was asked at the French Grand Prix to let Prost pass. Rene couldn’t bring himself to do it. The difference between the two men is still palpable today.
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Laffite – Pironi – Depailler – Tambay at Ligier
In front of the “Yellows”, there were the “Blues”. Even the foreign media called them that. On the side of the Blues, the strong personalities were not lacking. First of all, the boss Guy Ligier, a former driver himself and a dashing rugby player in his spare time, and at his side, his favorite driver, the uncontrollable, the formidable, the cantankerous, the sympathetic Jacques Laffite. Jacquot was like the basic man of the team. “I don’t care” in essence, nothing escaped him. And all his teammates, despite being full of talent, understood that at Les Bleus everything revolved around Jacques, the darling: these boys of great talent are called Didier Pironi, Patrick Depailler, Patrick Tambay, and they preferred to change teams. Philippe Alliot, joined the Blues after the accident that ended Laffite’s career in 1986, but without ego problems.
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Tambay-Pironi-Arnoux at Ferrari
Previously, within the emblematic Scuderia Ferrari, Patrick Tambay joined Didier Pironi after the fatal accident of Gilles Villeneuve in 1982. Then the following year, Arnoux came to replace Pironi with Tambay and there again, if we judge by the words of Tambay, there was no question of cordial agreement. So it was with the careers of our great national drivers. Today however, all our young French people from F1 have known each other… since childhood, since karting at the age of 5 or 6 years old. Cohabitation becomes in principle easier…