Esteban Ocon: “I was very much involved in the development of this year’s car”

by Paul Hensby

Esteban Ocon says that there has been an agreement put in place between the Renault F1 Team and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team about what secrets the Frenchman can tell his new employers about his old team in 2020.

Ocon has moved to Renault this season after a year acting as the third and reserve driver for Mercedes, with the twenty-three-year-old having had substantial time behind the scenes of the German outfit, including a lot of time in the Teams’ simulator.

The Frenchman says it is exciting to return to Formula 1 after a year on the side-lines, but he learned a lot during his tenure with Mercedes that he feels will make him a better driver going forward.

“I come out of there a lot stronger than I was, with a lot more knowledge on the technical side, but also on the other aspects of the organisation, the way they see things in different conditions, the way they just behave in any situation,” Ocon is quoted as saying by about his time at Mercedes.

“I had an eye on all of that, which is completely different than even if I was driving, you know? So, definitely it has helped me.  Of course, this year I was trying to give, to some extent, some of that – you have to be professional always, not give all the secrets, because the engineers, they all have to be a year out before coming back to another team, it’s not the case for a driver.

“But I still take things a lot. Within limits, I took stuff here, which both teams agreed. And yeah, so far it’s been good, I was very much involved in the development of this year’s car.

“So, now it’s exciting times, because – you didn’t see it much here [at the launch], but it is pretty different. Since a couple of years the guys at the factory, they say it’s probably the biggest step since three or four years.”

‘Everywhere you look is New’ at Renault Factory – Ocon

Comparing Mercedes to Renault, Ocon says the differences between the two manufacturers when it comes to the facilities is not that big, despite the vast difference between the two outfit’s performances on track.

Renault has been redeveloping their Enstone factory and Ocon admits that he got lost when he returned there for the first time since initially leaving back in 2016.

“It’s still not as big, that’s for sure,” said Ocon.  “But the amount of effort that’s been put into the development of the team since 2016 – I mean, when I came in [to the Enstone factory], I was lost at the entrance. I’ve gone left, normally there were stairs going down, and here there was a full new room, full of designers and everything.

“These full new equipment, new machines, new rooms, new computers – well, everywhere you look is new.” 

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