Hot French talent Esteban Ocon returns to Enstone for 2016 as Renault Sport Formula One Team Third and Reserve Driver.
How does it feel to be announced as Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Third Driver?
I’m absolutely delighted to be part of Renault’s return to Formula 1 as a works team. At the end of last year, I signed up for the long term as part of the Mercedes-Benz junior programme, and I’m very proud that I have now also been chosen to help the Renault Sport Formula One Team this year. Not just as a French driver with a French team, but also because I can build on what I started a few years ago with the guys and girls at Enstone.
What is your history with Enstone?
Part of my heart is in this corner of the countryside in England. I grew up there, and visited for the first time when I was still go-karting at 13 years old. It blew me away: the people, the technology, just incredible. I was part of the Enstone family in junior categories until the end of 2014 and even had my first Formula 1 race weekend experience with the team in Abu Dhabi that year.
I know many people in the team and I’ve learned so much from them. I’m still a young guy – but we have a long history together.
What is your approach to the season ahead?
To learn as much as I can and soak up information like a sponge. To be ready to jump in the car any time. And to help the team wherever I can. This is an incredible opportunity for me and I want to be ready to take the next step!
Aside from your role with Renault Sport Formula One Team, what else will you be doing?
My career has been managed by Mercedes since the end of 2014 and I became a full Mercedes junior at the end of last season, after winning the GP3 Series. Even in my new role as third driver for Renault Sport Formula One Team, I remain a long term member of the Mercedes family, and I have to thank Mercedes and Renault for making this possible. There are some opportunities out there to race as well this season but nothing has been decided yet. It is an incredible opportunity to be guided and supported by Toto (Wolff) and Mercedes – and to have the honour of representing a brand like Renault in Formula 1.