European F3 champion Ocon to test for Lotus

2014 F1 season

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Lotus’s junior driver Esteban Ocon, who won the European Formula Three championship last weekend, is to test for the team next month.

Ocon will have a two-day test in a 2012-specification Lotus E20 at the Ricardo Tormo road circuit in Valencia on October the 22nd and 23rd.

Ocon beat Max Verstappen to the most prestigious F3 title at Imola on Sunday, pulling 86 points clear with 75 available in the remaining races. Verstappen will make his F1 debut for Toro Rosso next year.

Lotus chariman Gerard Lopez described the French driver as “a tremendous talent for the future”.

“He has shown himself to be a superb driver as part of our Lotus F1 Team Junior programme, we are proud of him and he truly deserves to be given every opportunity to take his career to the next level.

“To that end he will start testing in the Lotus F1 Team simulator at Enstone this week ahead of driving the E20 at Valencia later this month.”

Ocon, who has also raced in Formula Renault 3.5 this year, said: “The support and back-up I have been given since 2011 has enabled me to win the FIA Formula Three championship against some strong competition and I can’t wait to get started on the next step of my training.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “European F3 champion Ocon to test for Lotus”

  1. @keithcollantine Following his F3 championship title, he will also test with Ferrari at Fiorano on October 29th (link).

  2. One year younger than max verstappen and dominated the formula3 this year. Clearly someone to look out for in future

    1. @graywizzard Actually he’s a year older – Verstappen’s 17, he’s 18.

      1. Oh yeah.. read the dates wrong :/

    2. He’s just a year older and is, at worst, just as good. I hope he joins F1 soon to prove his talent.

      1. Why would he be just as good “at worst”? Given he is in his third full season of car racing while Verstappen was still in karts one year ago, how Verstappen will probably finish second in his debut season while Ocon came in 14th, how Verstappen debuted at higher level and finally how Verstappen grew as he got accustomed to car racing, winning 8 races for Ocon’s 4, I’d say there’s a real possibility that Verstappen holds more promise.

    3. Another difference, and I think this difference is what made Helmut Marko think that Verstappen is ready for F1, is that Ocon already had 2 seasons of Formula Renault 2.0 before entering in F3 (and his top championship position was 3rd). Verstappen came directly out of karts, stepped into F3 won races and will probably finish second at the end of this season.

  3. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    14th October 2014, 13:17

    Ocon is definitely an exciting driver for the (near?) future. However, I almost always read about him when he is being compared to Verstappen (and vice versa). So, I though I’d do some comparisons between the two over 2014.
    I haven’t seen much of this years European F3 championship, but I saw that Verstappen had a lot of DNF’s to his name (11 out of 30 races thus far!). Ocon has only 6 DNFs. Interestingly, when looking at the 14 races they both finished, Ocon finished in front of Verstappen only 5 times.
    Now I ask: what has caused the high number of DNFs for Verstappen? If those are not all down to driver errors and inexperience, then I can see why Red Bull / Toro Rosso went for Verstappen and ‘overlooked’ Ocon. Am I right?

    1. I’ve heard a lot of comparisons, even from the man himself, that they are sort of Prost and Senna characters.

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        14th October 2014, 14:28

        In that case, I am looking forward to the F1 championships of 2016 and onwards ;)

    2. It’s rather easy I feel. This season, Verstappen is more aggressive, more attacking but also more crash prone than Esteban Ocon. Also, Verstappen had numorous technical problems, more than Ocon.

      Ocon dominated the first part of the season (highly impressive for a newcomer), Verstappen had to play catch up in the second part of the season and went for all or nothing.

      1. Add to that: I think that both Ocon and Verstappen should be glad that they are racing each other. The never-ending comparisons are flattering for both of them.

      2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        14th October 2014, 14:30

        So we really have to exciting stars on the rise. I hope they both make F1, and keep the Maldonado’s and Sirotkin’s out.

        1. +1

          I understand that many people feel that Verstappen is too young or too inexperienced, but it’s a very positive signal that he earned his 2015 seat because of talent rather than because of money or connections.

      3. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        14th October 2014, 14:30

        So we really have two exciting stars on the rise. I hope they both make F1, and keep the Maldonado’s and Sirotkin’s out.

    3. Another difference is that Ocon is driving for the top team in F3 and Verstappen with small back-midfield team.

      I guess Verstappen won’t be challenging for wins in his Torro Rosso next season, but that’s sort of what he’s doing now.

  4. No offence intended, but shouldn’t this test be done by one of the contestants in the GP2 series? Isn’t that how it is supposed to work: People who do well in Formula 3 go to GP2, and if they do well there they get a seat in Formula 1.

  5. As long as his (anyone’s) test, results in him/them replacing Maldonado, I’m happy. Maldonado may be a really nice guy and all, but he’s rubbish on-track. Only reason he’s in F1 is because of PDVSA.

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