A day in the life of Esteban Ocon,
Formula 1 driver, Renault F1 Team
What’s your job responsibility?
I have a very big responsibility as a race driver. There are more than 1,000 people behind me who are all working hard to deliver a fantastic car and, along with Daniel, I’m responsible for the performance of that. These people put thousands of hours in so it’s a big responsibility to be on top of that and do a good job.
What’s a typical race day like for you?
First of all, I go to sleep very early. I try to be asleep as early as possible as soon as we have finished with everything at the track on Saturday night. All the preparation starts on the Sunday morning. I’ll wake up and start drinking fluids all the time. I will always have a bottle of water with me. I will get dehydrated during the race, depending on the conditions, as 80% of the races are very warm.
Then I’ll do a warm-up with my physio, Dan, I’ll stop drinking by that point and then I’m ready to race. In between that, we have meetings, strategy and pre-race briefings. I like to get my starts ready and practice as much as I can before I get in the car. On the grid, I’ll have a final chat with the engineers and then you go! In terms of food, I have a big breakfast and a small lunch.
What made you want to be a racing driver, what is your background?
I was introduced to motors and engines from a young age and my dad is a mechanic, so I’ve been interested in that area since I was a kid. I began karting in France and then moved to single-seater racing in Formula Renault. In 2014 I was taken on by Lotus’s young driver programme, and I later went on to win FIA European Formula 3 and then GP3 and had my first taste of Formula 1 in Free Practice at Abu Dhabi. Then I got my chance in Formula 1 with Manor, before racing with Force India.
What is your most memorable moment?*
It’s probably my first great result in Formula 1, which was fifth place in Barcelona in 2017.
And the worst part of your job?
I think travelling is maybe the worst part. It can sound silly because travelling can be cool, but being at an airport, then on a long flight can be difficult. You arrive and then you’re tired and it takes time to feel fresh again! It wastes time, so if I had a super power to click my fingers and be in a place then that would be fantastic.
The best part of your job then?
Driving a Formula 1 car! It’s so good when you have the car feeling great, knowing it’s something you have developed with the team and getting it working how you want it. I find that feeling fantastic. There’s no car that will feel as good as a Formula 1 car at its maximum.
What do you do after work? How do you unwind?*
I’m just a normal, young guy. If I have free time, I have to do training but then I go out with friends and do fun things like going to the cinema, going bowling, playing pool, something cool. I like to disconnect for a bit.
What do you do before going to sleep?
I always watch YouTube! Anything funny, car videos or content from French YouTubers. I go to sleep very early and normally a good night’s sleep is 12 hours for me.
If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
I think a rider or driver in another sport. Anything with an engine, motocross, motorbikes something like that!
*Interview carried out earlier this year, before pandemic and podiums!