Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
4 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
Race in
20 days
09 May
Next event in
23 days
23 May
Race in
41 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
55 days
13 Jun
Race in
62 days
27 Jun
Race in
76 days
04 Jul
Next event in
79 days
18 Jul
Race in
97 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
111 days
29 Aug
Race in
139 days
05 Sep
Race in
146 days
26 Sep
Race in
167 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
170 days
10 Oct
Race in
181 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
195 days
31 Oct
Race in
202 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
223 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
244 days

Ocon: Pre-race Abiteboul chats helped me in "tough moments"

Esteban Ocon says pre-race chats filled with encouragement from Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul helped him battle through the tough times on his Formula 1 return last year.

Ocon: Pre-race Abiteboul chats helped me in "tough moments"

Ocon made his F1 comeback with Renault in 2020 after a year on the sidelines as a Mercedes test and reserve driver.

And with it taking him some time to get adjusted again to the performance demands of F1, and adapt to a new car, Ocon found himself unable to deliver what he felt he was capable of.

But any doubts about his potential faded away after a breakthrough at the Sakhir Grand Prix, when the Frenchman finished second to give Renault its third podium finish of the season.

Despite some tough times and hype surrounding incoming new teammate Fernando Alonso, Ocon said that he never felt under pressure from his team to deliver – because the messages from management were so encouraging.

“I didn't feel the pressure on, of having to make a result or having to make an incredible race or something like that,” said Ocon about whether he felt the need to deliver something special in the build up to that Sakhir podium.

“I had a chat with Cyril just before the race and Cyril, even in tough moments, was always very supportive of me and very positive. He was always giving me good advice, and that is good when it comes from the boss just before you jump in the car. It means you're relaxed, and you're confident.”

Ocon said the message from Abiteboul before the Sakhir race was that, despite starting 11th on a weekend where the team had expected to be super fast, everything was still possible.

“We didn't have a great qualifying, but he came and he said: 'Look, you know, it's going to be an interesting race, and there’s a cool strategy to come up with. So you are going to have a strong one, you know. Take your time, it's going to come. Good luck'. That's all he said, but that was really good.

“So I didn't feel the pressure. But obviously, it's good, and it's clear I hope now, that the team can truly say that they can rely on me in tough moments. And that, if we are in difficult moments in the race, I can be strong and do the job.”

Read Also:

Ocon added that another important factor for him last year was the security that came from having a multi-year contract, rather than needing to prove himself straight away to keep his seat.

“It was very important to be sure on your future, to be stable in your mind, and to know that you can build something with the team that you are driving for,” he explained.

“If you have limited time, it's not good. You can't have time to basically progress and work properly with the people around you.

“We've seen that, it's not easy to switch teams, even for people that have been racing. And on top of that, I had a year off so I had to get back up to speed, and also learn to work with a new team.

“So I'm definitely aiming to do a bit like what Daniel [Ricciardo] did for his second year – which is step up and continue the progress that we have been doing this year.

“That is definitely the aim. So it was important to know your future and be stable in there.”

Additional reporting by Luke Smith

shares
comments

Related video

In defence of Luca Badoer

Previous article

In defence of Luca Badoer

Next article

Verstappen not worried "time is ticking" on F1 title dreams

Verstappen not worried "time is ticking" on F1 title dreams
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Esteban Ocon
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Jonathan Noble
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Prime

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle.

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb Prime

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen's emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber teammate's own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here's how Nick Heidfeld's career was chilled by the Iceman.

Formula 1
Apr 3, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Prime

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Verstappen's Bahrain mistake can only make him stronger Prime

How Verstappen's Bahrain mistake can only make him stronger

Max Verstappen lost out to Lewis Hamilton at the Bahrain Grand Prix by a tiny margin, slipping off the track just as victory was within his grasp. But the painful lesson from defeat can only help Verstappen come back even stronger

Formula 1
Mar 31, 2021