After finishing inside the points in his first race with the Sahara Force India F1 Team in Australia two weeks ago, Esteban Ocon is expecting his learning curve to continue this weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit in China, round two of the 2017 Formula 1 season.
The Frenchman became the 334th driver to finish inside the points in Formula 1 history at Albert Park, and he admitted that he is still coming to grips with the VJM10, and is expecting this weekend’s race to be another step forward for the twenty-year-old.
“My first race weekend with Sahara Force India was a great experience,” expressed Ocon. “It was a very busy week and I had to learn a huge amount and get up to speed quickly.
“In Melbourne I said that I am on a big learning curve and the same will be true in China. I still need to build my speed with the VJM10 – it’s about exploring the limits of the car and understanding how to manage the tyres during qualifying and the race. What we learned in Melbourne will certainly make things a bit easier this weekend, but you never stop learning in this sport.
“I was happy to score my first point in Australia and it’s a great way for the team to start the season, especially with a strong result for Sergio [Perez] as well. It shows that we have a solid base on which we can build.
“I’ve settled in nicely to this team and I’m working well with my engineers and my car crew. It’s important to feel comfortable and I like the way we do things. It’s a very open atmosphere and the team understands what I need from the car.”
Part of Ocon’s learning curve comes this weekend in learning the Shanghai circuit, having never previously raced there. Despite this, he remains focused on returning to the points, feeling the circuit should suit the team better than the streets of Albert Park did.
“I visited China last year but I’ve never driven at the Shanghai circuit,” said Ocon. “So it’s going to be another new track for me to learn on Friday.
“After the street circuit of Melbourne, it will be nice to go to a track which is the complete opposite with lots of open space. I think the car should be more suited to Shanghai, but it’s hard to know until we get there and drive. The goal, once again, is to score some points.”
Photo Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team