Esteban Ocon admitted that he was forced himself to eat during the off-season in order to prepare himself for the extra demands of 2017 Formula 1 machinery.
The new cars will be harder to drive, meaning the drivers up and down the paddock have been working on their fitness, and Ocon has put on five kilograms during the off-season, which he admits was hard work to do.
“I was on a big protein diet, it was very hard, I had to force feed myself,” said Ocon on Motorsport.com. “And now I stopped so I lost like 500g, something like that.
“But, no, it’s been very hard, I’ve been doing nine hours of cardio per week, 10 hours of gym and all the rest was reaction training, circuit training… very hard stuff.
“Last year I was on the limit of the weight, even though I’m very skinny. This year there is no restriction at the moment – and the team agreed it was more important to feel good in the car than be underweight and not be able to drive the car.”
Ocon, who moves to the Sahara Force India F1 Team in 2017 after racing a partial campaign with Manor Racing MRT last year, feels some of the drivers will benefit from the new regulations, as the heavier drivers will not be penalised as much than in recent years.
“Everything is stronger. I really improved on that aspect [the weight],” said Ocon. “Cardio, I went biking with some friends that were following me before and now they just can’t follow me anymore. So, no, very happy with the progress.
“I think now you can develop yourself more and do a bit more gym and eat more as you want, and that’s a nice thing. Everyone will feel much better.”