Esteban Ocon, Force India, Monza, 2018

Ocon: I’ve been in tougher situations than this

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon

What they say

Ocon was asked whether the doubt over his future at Force India was a distraction from his driving duties.

It’s not a distraction because I manage to switch off quite well. And I’ve been in more difficult situations than I am in now.

I’m still doing a strong job I think the last few races. Of course it hasn’t been an easy situation. I’m trying to do the best I can on track and I don’t think I’m doing too bad.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

How accurate is Charlie Whiting’s estimate that the Shield would only be 10% as effective as a Halo?

It’s not ‘pulling a number out of thin air’ when you have actually seen the data.

Charlie has all the load figures from the various impact tests. He knows what the load the Halo can manage is and knows the load that the various windscreens failed at. He also knows the load that the Halo took in the Alonso/Leclerc accident.

10% may be a general estimate, But it will be an estimate that he came to based on knowing the actual data and should be pretty accurate.

Happy birthday!

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Author information

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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38 comments on “Ocon: I’ve been in tougher situations than this”

  1. Mark in Florida
    8th September 2018, 0:28

    Ocon may have to get a ride in DTM or with WEC. It’s not looking good so far for next year. With Rogro staying at Haas that closes off that opportunity. I wish that he could find a ride based on talent not his affiliation with Merc. Vandoorn losing his ride with McLaren was bad as well. Is Zack expecting Norris to miraculously put them back at the front? Seems like poor decisions from the powers that be.

    1. Well considering Ocon’s Mercedes links are putting people off left right and centre, DTM is a no goer with Mercedes pulling out at the end of the season.

  2. Times like this that I wish Mercedes had picked up Manor…

    I’d be hugely sad and irked with the world in general if either Vandoorne or Ocon weren’t on the grid next year. If both of them end up elsewhere, a little part of my F1-loving soul will die.

  3. All this news and BBC are reporting that Leclerc to replace Kimi is done.
    Pretty sure that with Kimi and Alonso gone I won’t really care about F1 any more.

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      8th September 2018, 15:58

      I don’t care about F1 since Fangio has gone.

  4. It seems next year F1 will be left without Alonso, Kimi, Vandoorne and Ocon. That’s a sobering indication of how lost the sport is.

    1. If all 4 were lured into racing IndyCar next year, then that would be quite the coup for the sport. As an American, I’d certainly make the effort to see them race mire than once a year.

    2. Biggsy, People have been complaining for years that Kimi was hanging on for too long at the front and should retire to make way for a young promising driver.

      Now that we might finally see the prospect of Ferrari gambling on a talented young driver – something that they haven’t done in decades – and shake things up at the front, the sport is apparently “lost” because a driver with one of the longest careers in the history of the sport might finally be retiring?

  5. If Mercedes or any other team for that matter, hasn’t got the balls to appoint a young driver to their main team like RBR do, why do they even bother with their young driver programmes.

    If they can’t get them seats, then do the right thing and cut them loose from the program so at least another team like Toro Rosso/RBR can.

    It’s not like it hasn’t been proved that promoting a young talented “rookie” (for want of a better word) doesn’t work so why do Ferrari and Mercedes in particular go looking for “experienced” drivers.

    The fact that it’s looking more and more likely that F1 will lose Ocon is annoying the hell out of me. Merc should be bending over backwards to find him a seat – even if it means paying a team to take him if they have any interest at all in reta Ning him for their main team in a couple years time. If they’ve lost interest, cut him loose so he has a chance elsewhere.

    1. @dbradock

      Great comment. I agree completely that the purpose of nurturing young talent is wasted if you’re not going to eventually take a gamble on them.

      I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that Mercedes and Ferrari play it safe when they are fighting for championships. There’s a tendency to go for something proven in situations like this… Which is exactly why kimi and Bottas are still in their seats. When you aren’t fighting for the championships, you can afford to take risks (just like red bull is with Gasly and Mclaren is with Norris).

      Regarding Ocon.. I’m fairly certain he’ll land that Williams drive. Sure, it’s not a step up from Force india, but he’ll still have another season to establish himself. I just don’t think Ocon should be pinning all his hopes on a Mercedes drive though… He should be racing to attract all the other teams on the grid. Effectively, he needs to mentally cut himself off from Mercedes going forward.

      1. Letting easily pass the Mercedes is backfiring on Ocon chances…

      2. When you aren’t fighting for the championships, you can afford to take risks (just like red bull is with Gasly and Norris is with Mclaren).

        FTFY @todfod

        1. @coldfly

          Feel kind of uncool asking what FTFY stands for

          1. Google is your friend @todfod: FTFY stands for “fixed that for you”.

          2. Indeed.
            And typical for comical/sarcastic effect rather than a grammar police tool. But of course that effect is largely gone now :(

            PS those final characters are a ‘sad face’ emoticon (the old – but cool – version of those yellow emojis) @todfod.

      3. Yeah you’re right. They play it safe so why even bother with a young driver programme. It’s OK to say they’re doing it fo the championship but RBR was a contender as well when it appointed Ricciardo despite everyone thinking Alonso or Hamilton should have been their target when Webber left.

        RBR despite what people think of them at least have the balls to stick to their philosophy. Even their last appointment go Gasly is a huge risk – I’m sure they could have gotten Alonso (or pretty much anyone they wanted except Ricciardo) but they’ve done exactly what they’ve said they’d do – appoint from within.

        Not “playing it safe” has certainly not harmed them as a team, something that maybe Ferrari and Mercedes might want to take a good hard look at.

    2. @dbradock, the talk is that, behind the scenes, Mercedes have been pushing pretty hard to find a seat for Ocon, so clearly they do still have quite a bit of interest in Ocon.

      The problem is they had been close to an agreement for Ocon to replace Sainz Jr at Renault, only for Ricciardo to then stun everybody, including Renault, by accepting their offer. It seems that there were a lot of drivers who’d banked on that move – Ocon could go to Renault, leaving Stroll free to then go to Force India and Vandoorne with a chance of competing for a seat at Williams. By doing the unexpected and going to Renault, Ricciardo has effectively screwed over a lot of those other drivers.

      It seems that Mercedes are now lobbying behind the scenes for Force India to keep Ocon for next year, which would force Stroll to stay at Williams. That now makes it look as if the most likely free seat might be at Sauber, but the problem there is that, if Leclerc does indeed get promoted to Ferrari, Ferrari in turn want Sauber to then run Giovinazzi.

      1. I cannot see Stroll staying at Williams.
        His sponsors won’t continue to pay Williams when they are funding a whole team.
        Williams won’t/can’t retain Stroll without the financial backing.

      2. @anon As soon as they came back from the summer break, during which came the news of Stroll and group taking over FI, Wolff was admitting in interviews that he didn’t have much a a break because he had to start to scramble on Ocon’s behalf. So ‘the talk is’ coming from the horses mouth. It had already appeared to be the case that if not this year then next Lance will be at FI and Perez is already locked in. So wrt to Ocon at FI that has had little to do with DR deciding to go to Renault. I’ll be surprised if Wolff can influence FI to not take Lance yet, just so Ocon can retain his seat.

    3. The problem is that Mercedes already had very good drivers. Of course they didn’t take Pascal when they’re was an opening, but that was probably for marketing reasons.

    4. I think the reason why mercedes have a young driver program is because everybody else has a young driver program. If merc wants even a small chance to get an upcoming driver at some point they need to have their driver programs because otherwise all those good upcoming drivers are tied to ferrari, red bull, mclaren or some other team. Mercedes is also looking at this just as selfishly as everybody else. From merc’s perspective it is a much better situation to have a driver but no seat than it is to have a seat but no driver. No matter how harsh it is for the driver.

    5. Mercedes cannot predict when they will be done with the previous generation of drivers, and it’s usually better for the F1 team to have too many talents under the wing than Red Bull’s current problem of having too few. As it’s the F1 team that pays for the program, its interests end up paramount.

      However, I think in this case the issue would be straightforward to resolve, if (and it’s a big if) Toro Rosso is being straightforward in its rejection reason. Simply promise that Ocon won’t be moved during the length of the upcoming contract, won’t be called upon to do any potentially conflicting marketing, limiting support to whatever the Toro Rosso will tolerate – perhaps, for example, allowing use of non-sensitive resources like fitness training access, make sure that is explicitly written into the contract and then abide by it. That way, Ocon can get the experience, strengthen Toro Rosso while he’s there, and when Toro Rosso are done with him, Ocon still has the Mercedes scheme as a fallback position.

      If it’s a two-year deal and there’s an emergency vacancy before the contract is done, they could always promote Russell or Wehrlein (this is part of the beauty of having more drivers than seats) – while that might not be ideal, it would still show there is a reward to being in the programme and they’d probably do a good-enough job.

      The main risk, if everything is according to face value, is that things go too well for Ocon, he might decide to defect to Red Bull (which would probably be a pre-requisite for promotion to Red Bull, if the vacancy arose there – unlikely in a two-year span, but not impossible by any means). What worries me more, however, is that Toro Rosso might in reality want more than merely a lack of contractual complication, and instead be playing psychological games as a sort of screening test (if a driver can’t handle a fairly offhand comment to the media before signing, then there is little point signing them, for the psychological pressuring from the leadership will only get worse afterwards – as one of the candidates, Daniil Kyvat, knows all too well). If that’s the case, this could be a test where passing would require Ocon to not drop the Mercedes connections and stick to his guns.

      F1 psuedopolitics can be so strange, sometimes.

  6. I think (again) that Williams must enter into some sort of technical agreement with Mercedes. Yes its been pointed out here numerous times its not in Williams dna and it doesnt fit with their other business’ – however Claire must bring home the bacon for an awful lot of people and and truthfully things are looking pretty dire…. no stroll cash, no martini cash, no performance this year to help raise good new sponsors next year!! If McLaren werent imploding then Williams would be the big worry in the news. AND this has been going on for sooo long, with the exception of taking advantage of the Merc v6 initially when it gave a big advantage and their slippery car helped, but look at them now as its back to a good chassis being required as well.
    Surely Paddy can get Claire to cut a deal with Merc – he knows both teams inside out. Otherwise I fear they may not be about for long.

    1. Mark in Florida
      8th September 2018, 17:10

      I totally agree with what you are saying,I’ve been saying it for a while now that teams should take advantage of this ruling on car parts. Haas figured this out early on and everybody says that the are driving the 2017 Ferrari which is so far from the truth of the matter. With the financial climate in F1 right now it doesn’t make much sense to try and reinvent the wheel of you don’t have to. Resources are hard to come by if you can buy it cheaper than you can make it why not? I know that a lot of people want teams to make everything but how can they when there is so much disparity between the top and bottom teams. The payout discrepancies is driving this new way of running a team like Haas does. Even up the money and maybe teams can afford a new composite department for suspensions etc. Until then we are stuck with the sorry state that F1 has sunk to financially.

  7. Right now Williams seem to be the only realistic option for him for next season (Mclaren is entirely out of the question now, and so is his current team as he has more or less already confirmed it himself, despite the lack of official confirmation, when he was heard talking with Vettel on the grid in Belgium after qualifying) unless Haas or Sauber were willing to take him despite the Ferrari-ties of these two teams.
    – Concerning the TV3I0-article: Interesting the portrait of Matteo Bonciani.
    – I agree with the COTD.

    1. ahem, that’s petition to keep Kimi

      (man this platform is buggy)

    2. #KimiForPresident

    3. I think that if he goes, I will as well. Indy car could work quite well for me. This F1 hasn’t changed from 10 years ago.

  8. If I was to rank all the drivers in contention for a drive next year, Esteban Ocon would be number 5. In my opinion, the only drivers better than him are Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo and Verstappen.

    1. This is my whole list:
      1 Lewis Hamilton
      2 Max Verstappen
      3 Daniel Ricciardo
      4 Sebastian Vettel
      5 Esteban Ocon
      6 Valtteri Bottas
      7 Charles Leclerc
      8 Sergio Perez
      9 Nico Hulkenberg
      10 Pierre Gasly
      11 Carlos Sainz
      12 George Russell
      13 Kimi Raikkonen
      14 Kevin Magnussen
      15 Lando Norris
      16 Stoffel Vandoorne
      17 Romain Grosjean
      18 Antonio Giovinazzi
      19 Brendon Hartley
      20 Sergey Sirotkin
      21 Marcus Ericsson
      22 Artem Markelov
      23 Daniil Kvyat
      24 Lance Stroll

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        8th September 2018, 16:02

        Mazepin is missing there. He’s been in a rush to buy a Force India seat.

        1. Mazepin lacks sufficient Superlicence points to qualify for a F1 race seat, and this does not look likely to change soon (unlike, say, Dan Ticktum, who may not be eligible now, but if he performs as well as he has so far this season, probably will be by the end of the F3 campaign).

    2. He’s not even better than his own teammate. I don’t see what Ocon’s done to deserve his reputation, he’s never had a performance which has made me go ‘gosh he’s good. Okay he’s edged Perez in qualifying this year but has been quite a bit slower in the races – Monza for example, he was way slower. Yes I’d like to see him remain on the grid but he is overrated.

      1. @tflb Quite a bit slower in races? Monza was the only race where he was significantly slower and it had a bit to do with him getting stuck behind Grosjean.

        Ocon was slower in Australia, had similar (very slightly slower) pace in Bahrain and China, N/A in Baku, faster in Spain(unfortunate retirement), faster in Monaco, faster in Canada, N/A in France, slower in Austria, faster in Great Britain, slower in Germany, faster in Hungary and slower in Belgium. They have been on equal terms on race pace.

        Also I wouldn’t call an 11-3 advantage in qualifying an ‘edge’. Sure, the delta between them might be small, but given that he has been consistently beating Perez in that department, clearly shows who’s the faster driver. Also also, given that Perez reached his peak in his 4th and 5th seasons in F1, I like to believe Ocon still has more to give. He has improved vastly in qualifying from last season, for example.

      2. @tflb

        I think that’s also because he’s had a strong teammate. Gasly and Leclerc might wow people with the occasional performance because their teammates are so far behind them most of the time. For example, it’s kind of hard to say whether Toro Rosso was genuinely the best of the rest in Bahrain or whether it was Gasly’s performance. Similarly with Leclerc’s performance in Baku.

        I think Ocon has filled Hulkenberg’s shoes pretty well at Force India, and the Hulk is quite a highly rated driver. So, for Ocon to achieve that level of performance in only his second season, is no small feat.

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