Esteban Ocon is preparing for a challenging weekend as he prepares for his first actual race around Albert Park.

The Frenchman joins Sahara Force India F1 Team from Manor Racing MRT, at which he replaced Rio Haryanto from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards. But he is excited of racing around such a classic-styled track even if it presents such a steep learning curve.

I am feeling great after a long winter and I’m very excited to go to Melbourne,” he said. “It will be the first time racing at Albert Park for me, so I do not really know the track, but last year I went there and I liked what I could see.

“It’s a proper old-school track and those are the sorts of circuit I really enjoy. Of course it’s not easy when you don’t know the track in advance, so it’s especially important to learn quickly in the Friday sessions and listen to the feedback from the engineers – whether it’s where I can be faster or where we can make the car quicker. I think I have all the tools and all the people around me to do that.”

Since joining, Ocon has devoted a lot of time to the season’s preparations, making himself available for as much simulation work as possible. This in addition to their respectable achievements during testing has left him feeling confident that the season ahead will prove a fruitful one.

I think we did a good job as a team during winter testing and I also feel confident because of all the simulator work we did over the winter,” he continued. “We continue to push on the simulator and I was at the factory a few days ago doing the final preparation for Melbourne.

“I was very open to the team – I told them I’d be available at HQ as much as they needed me over the winter and I feel satisfied with the work we’ve done together so far.

“I think we’re on track to extract everything we can from the car, which is our objective. We’ll go out and do the best we can and see where we are.”