Despite the thing has been said about the 2020 Formula 1 season, it will be an intense, conceivably fascinating year. While the main changes in guideline will come in 2021, this year sees the comeback of Zandvoort (with an insane banked corner), groups are nearer than any time in recent memory and Esteban Ocon is back in the game. He may be just 23, however he’s now got five years of involvement with Formula 1. Also, following a one-year break in his vocation, Ocon is back in the pail seat of the promising Renault F1 R.S.20. We met with him during the pre-season tests in Barcelona a week ago, together with his support Bell & Ross. (fun reality: he often wears his watch under his driving glove… )
Brice Goulard, MONOCHROME – How and when did your profession truly get started?
Esteban Ocon – In Motorsport, there’s not actually a turning point. It’s more a progressive cycle. The more you make you far up to higher classifications, and when you begin winning races in junior classes, underneath Formula 1, that’s when everything truly begins to quit fooling around. As far as I might be concerned, it was around 2013-2014 (back then, Esteban was racing in Formula Renault and afterward in Formula Three), when I started racing in open-wheel titles. From that point onward, everything goes quick in this industry. When you begin winning in lower classes, significant groups are looking at you.
What about the present status of your career?
First of all, I’m back in Formula 1. I missed 2019, or if nothing else I wasn’t racing. I showed up in Formula 1 in 2016, dashed then in 2017 and 2018 and it would have been sensible to continue along these lines, yet the circumstance changed and I was unable to race in 2019 (Ocon joined Mercedes as their hold driver in 2019 after which he was supplanted at Racing Point by Lance Stroll for the 2019 season). However, I’m back with a significant group, Renault F1, for quite a long while. It’s all certain. Simply being back on the track is as of now huge for me.
Do you compare yourself to any of the amazing drivers, like Alain Prost?
I clearly can’t “compare” myself to Alain Prost (another French driver dynamic in the 1980s and 1990s, presently part of Renault F1 team). Alain is a legend, an inspiration… And I get the opportunity to have him around now, he’s giving me guidance, I’m working together with him. I can’t compare myself to him. I’m basically trying to gain from his experience.
What does Prost bring to you?
Alain has the keys to progress. He’s made it where I need to succeed. So having him around me, to be so fortunate to cooperate with him is incredible. Particularly this year, as it denotes a comeback for me and I need to work with another group. Also, despite the fact that it’s not my first year in Formula 1, it remains a test. Having him close to me is useful, on numerous levels, whether in the group side or on the piloting side… His experience is useful on all levels.
Is there another driver who inspires you?
The answer is straightforward. A while ago when I was more youthful, my deity was Michael Schumacher, likewise his fight with Fernando Alonso in 2005-2006. This is the thing that gave me the longing to, at some point, become a F1 driver. I’m so fortunate when I return to the Renault F1 plant to see the R26 that was driven by Fernando back then.
What are your present moment and long haul objectives?
Participating for participating doesn’t drive me. What I need is to advance in my profession and come to the point where I can battle for the crown one day. Certainly, it will not be this year. We actually have a ton of work to do. The target of the group is to battle for the fourth spot in the constructor’s title, to score points in all races. On an individual level, the goal is to remain on the platform at any rate once. Yet, this year, 2020, it will be hard to rank higher than that. We mainly need to advance and be significantly more grounded in 2021, possibly, to battle in the top 3.
In 2017, you scored 87 points in the title (with Force India). Do you think it’s sensible to make a similar score this year?
Well, that is definitely what we need this year with Renault F1. In 2017, the group finished in fourth situation in the constructor’s title, and I finished in eighth situation at the driver’s title. Also, we have similar kind of results in mind during the current year. This is our objective.
We realize that huge guideline changes will come in 2021 and that 2020 will be all the more a momentary year with minor updates. What’s the significance here for this upcoming season?
First of all, on the grounds that the guideline is near what we had a year ago, all the groups will be close, and the lower-end groups will draw nearer to the significant groups. The mid-range fight will be intense. The holes were tight in 2019 and will certainly be more tight in 2020. All things considered, the ranking we’ve found in the previous years will most likely remain the equivalent, at any rate for the main 3 groups (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull).
As there will be huge changes in guideline, the group that will plan the best vehicle will have the preferred position in the initial segment of the period. So in 2021, anything could occur. This year, it will mainly be tied in with progressing, getting nearer to the best 3 groups or maintaining its position.
In this instance, 2020 could be a fascinating season for the public?
Of course! In any event we’ll make an honest effort to make 2020 a pleasant racing season. We’ll certainly see some incredible fights in our mid-range position, with different groups on a similar level. I don’t actually have the foggiest idea how the battle will be in the front, yet for us at Renault F1, it will be intense.
You’ve accomplished great outcomes in these pre-season tests. The vehicle is by all accounts very good.
Indeed, yet we should be cautious. It certainly is wonderful to see yourself, by the day’s end, in the best 3. The pre-season tests don’t actually check. Each group has an alternate test program. The ranking isn’t actually precise. Groups are working circumspectly, some of the time not on unadulterated execution. We’ll just have an unmistakable picture in Australia, for the primary GP.
What’s the way to go, as far as you might be concerned, with these pre-season tests?
First of all, it’s tied in with “getting, thinking back to the game”, to tidy the rust off, as I’ve been racing for some time now. Yet, it comes back quick! But on the other hand it’s learning from Daniel Ricciardo, who has dominated a few races, accomplished some shaft positions, and who has incredible experience. Furthermore, obviously, it’s the time we use to comprehend the vehicle and to fix issues that could happen. However, for the present, I’m comfortable with the vehicle, I’m feeling better constantly every day I’m driving.