Newly crowned FIA European Formula 3 Champion Esteban Ocon will test a Lotus F1 Team E20 as the team continue to increase his involvement within its Formula 1 team as his career continues to progress.
The eighteen-year-old, who has been part of the Lotus Junior programme since 2010, gets the F1 test, to be completed at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain on October 22nd-23rd as part of his ongoing development programme.
The car Ocon will use was the same one that took Kimi Raikkonen to victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2012, while the Frenchman will also spend some time in the Lotus simulator at the Teams’ Enstone base.
“I would like to thank Lotus F1 Team and Gravity Management for this superb opportunity,” said Ocon. “The support and back-up I have been given since 2011 has enabled me to win the FIA Formula 3 Championship against some strong competition and I can’t wait to get started on the next step of my training. To drive a Formula 1 car has always been a dream of mine, so I can’t wait to get started.”
Gerard Lopez, the Chairman and Team Principal of the Lotus F1 Team believed Ocon was ready for the chance to test for the team after a tremendous season where he has taken nine wins in European Formula 3 for the Prema Powerteam outfit en-route to winning the title with three races to spare.
“Esteban is a tremendous talent for the future,” insisted Lopez. “He has shown himself to be a superb driver as part of our Lotus F1 Team Junior programme, we are proud of him and he truly deserves to be given every opportunity to take his career to the next level. To that end he will start testing in the Lotus F1 Team simulator at Enstone this week ahead of driving the E20 at Valencia later this month.”
Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane is looking forward to seeing what Ocon can do in the simulator and the E20, and insists the Frenchman’s success shows the Teams’ driver development programme is working.
“Part of the job of Lotus F1 Team is to consider future drivers through our Lotus F1 Team Junior programme, which has evolved from the longstanding and successful driver development programme run out of Enstone,” said Permane. “Esteban has really shone this season so it will be rewarding for all to see him in our simulator and then out on track in the E20.”