Esteban Ocon, from Normandy shows no end to progress in Formula 1. The young French driver will pass the course of his first year on the pro circuit of F1.
Compared with a sponge for its ability to ingest information, the French driver Esteban Ocon (Force India), 20, will celebrate at the Belgian Grand Prix the course of his first year in F1, during which he has continued to absorb. From his stable manager, Bob Fernley, the boss of Mercedes, Toto Wolff, who spotted him, through his chief engineer Tom McCullough, all have an opinion on this early outbreak.
In the radar for a long time
“It was some time we wanted to integrate into the team” ensures Fernley, which counts among its French driver line since the beginning of the season. “The fact that he is able to perform well so early, it shows how good he is and how he is able to raise its level. “ The Norman, who turns 21 on the 17th September, evolves into the fold of Mercedes, it is part of the Team Junior, potential springboard to the Silver Arrows.
“We would not have taken it two years ago if we did not believe he could be so fast” , appreciates Wolff, satisfied with his ability to adapt to 2017 cars, larger and more powerful after only half a season at Manor in 2016. “it impresses me if he can maintain that level and, progressively, to go at Checo (Perez, his more experienced teammate Mexican, Ed) and be faster, that would be fine, “ he continues.
“Esteban is like a sponge: they give him the information he learns, he joined the board of the car. “ The image comes from the chief engineer of Force India, Tom McCullough. “What he really did was work with the team,” he continues. “He established a great relationship with his engineers and understands very quickly what has to change. It includes the balance between qualifying and the race “ , he believes.
The Englishman pushes comparison with a driver he knew more young people in other teams: the Germans Nico Rosberg, world champion and retired, and Nico Hülkenberg or the Finn Valtteri Bottas. “All these drivers are like Esteban. They realized that F1 is not only driving but it’s working with people, understand the data, learn every day what was good and what was not, “ adds McCullough. “It’s one of the strengths of the character of Esteban and it’s something that does grow faster than others,” Wolff judge.
Generation video games and simulators
Ocon, as the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 19, is part of this generation of drivers who discovered the circuits via the tools of the digital revolution, video games, simulators and other. “I think I would be at this level without the simulators but it would take longer. There would be more mistakes too. Normally, we built performance in free practice to be ready for qualifying. I would maybe not as quick in free practice 1 without this assistance and it would take me longer to get there, “ he acknowledges. “Any experience or any method that can be used before arriving at the circuit is precious. The simulator is included. Sure it facilitates understanding of the track “.
A character in forging
“Drivers like Esteban, integrated in our youth sector must grow at the personality ‘, however, warns Toto Wolff. “This is something important for Esteban to improve inside the car but also outside. To ask: Where can I improve? Where I’ve made mistakes?” , Advises the Austrian. Strength of character, in any case, the French driver has already proved that he did not miss, standing up on the track, in Canada or in Azerbaijan but also outside to teammate Sergio Pérez, 27 years in F1 since 2011.