Frenchman Esteban Ocon arrived at Silverstone as a rookie but left the track as the championship leader of the 2014 FIA European Formula 3 championship. The Prema Powerteam driver, who is backed by the Lotus Formula 1 team, won race two and finished on the podium in the other two races.
“It was a fantastic weekend,” admitted Ocon to the official FIA European Formula 3 website. “I made it to the podium in every race and left Silverstone as championship leader. There certainly are areas where I still have to improve and I’m aware that there will be weekends where things won’t run that well for me. But the points and trophies won in Silverstone are mine and nobody can take them from me.”
Asked why he chose European F3 in 2014, he admitted it was not his decision but he was happy with the route his Lotus bosses chose for him.
“As I see it, the high motor-racing level of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship represents the most significant outstanding attribute of the series. If you succeed in winning here, your chances of becoming a successful professional motor racer look bright.
“I’m member of the Lotus Junior Team and this is the path Lotus has planned for me. And I have to admit that I’m really happy about this decision as the FIA Formula 3 Championship is an extremely competitive series with very good drivers and teams.
“It goes without saying that it’s great to have the opportunity to race for a squad such as Prema that dominated the European Formula 3 sport, in recent years. I feel really good, here, and I definitely hope to be able to tie in with the successes of my predecessors.”
The step up to European Formula 3 meant that Ocon had to step up his training, and was given additional programmes by Lotus to help adapt to the bigger cars. He also admitted the way he was learning the tracks he has never raced on.
“First of all I intensified my exercises in the gym. At the same time, my training programme I was provided with by Lotus also was adapted to the higher requirements represented by Formula 3. And I used – first of all – computer games to learn the tracks I haven’t raced on, to date.”
When asked what his goals were for the 2014 season, Ocon was clear. He was aiming for the biggest prize of all, the championship, and to follow in the footsteps of 2013 champion Raffaele Marciello, who also won for Prema Powerteam.
“I want to win the European Championship title. I don’t really bother the rookie ranking but focus on the championship ranking. Of course, winning the rookie title would be nice but doing so isn’t my main goal.”
He’s made a good start, the win, a second and a third sees him top the standings after Silverstone on 58 points, six points clear of Italian team-mate Antonio Fuoco.