Esteban Ocon will line-up for a Formula 1 Grand Prix for the first time in 476 days in Australia. After a busy and promising pre-season test fortnight at the wheel of the Renault R.S.20, the Frenchman is raring to go for the opening race of the season.
What’s it like to be preparing for a Formula 1 race weekend again?
It feels fantastic to be heading into a race weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve had to get into that competitive mindset, so it’s very exciting to be doing that again. I’ve had a solid winter training programme, which began especially early to be ready for this challenge and I feel like I’m in good shape. I’ve settled well into the team and that began in December with the test in Abu Dhabi, followed by regular simulator days and, recently, pre-season testing in Barcelona. It’s great to be preparing for a season with everything tailor-made for you. I’m ready, I’m pumped, and I can’t wait to go to Melbourne!
How do you feel pre-season testing went for you and the team?
We left testing on a high note after a solid final day in the car for both Daniel and I. We made a decent step with the car and it did feel good. We’ve had a bit of time to analyse the data and jump in the simulator to find where we can improve. I have confidence for a great result in Melbourne, but we will take it a step at a time and ease ourselves back into a race weekend. Testing is one thing, driving lots of laps, but going racing is very different and it’s important we maximise any opportunity.
What do you like about the Australian Grand Prix?
Melbourne is a great place and I really enjoy going there. It’s always good to get away from the cold weather in Europe and enjoy some sunshine! I like the buzz around this time of year as it’s the start of the season and there’s that excitement to get everything going. It’s always a cool atmosphere throughout the weekend in Australia and I find that quite motivating. The aim is to put on a show and take home some points for the team!