Esteban Ocon, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Ocon: Lack of tow increased gap to Ricciardo

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon believes he would have qualified much closer to team mate Daniel Ricciardo if he’d been able to have a slipstream from another car during his qualifying run.

Ricciardo was the only Renault driver to reach Q3. Ocon went out in Q2 with a lap time over six tenths of a second slower than his team mate.

In conversation with his team after the session, Ocon was told he lost “easily four tenths” because he didn’t have a slipstream from another car.

Speaking to media after qualifying, Ocon said “having a tow seems a lot more powerful than it was back when I was driving a couple years ago with those new cars.”

“I think we if we had managed that better probably we’d have moved up the road as well,” he added.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said the benefit of having a slipstream was “somewhere, depending on on the wind direction or so, between one and a half tends to three tenths.”

“We have the drivers alternating in who gets to choose when to go out,” added. Wolff. “Today it was Lewis [Hamilton’s] call and obviously he let Valtteri [Bottas] out first.”

During the session Ocon asked Renault about their plans to alternate the slipstream between drivers (below). Ricciardo complained about Red Bull’s arrangement at the circuit two years ago when his team mate was Max Verstappen.

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Ocon’s post-Q2 debrief

Ocon:I don’t really understand where the gap comes from, to be honest. That was a clean lap. There’s probably a tenth to get better but I don’t know how it can be as big as that. The out-lap was not too bad. I had a decent front end, never as good as the first run, but better than the others. Apart from that it was clean, it was not over-pushed. SAo we need to reveal what it is because it’s a massive gap. I don’t really understand how it can be that big looking at the lap I just did.
To Ocon:Understood Esteban. Obviously we’ll look into that. I don’t know if you can still see on the screen in front of you, Esteban, but you can see the speed delta on the straight line, Danny’s best lap to the one you just did, there’s easily four tenths there based on the tow, I’d say. Your exits out of all those corners are good but the straight-line speed just doesn’t match Daniel’s with the tail wind he’s got, effectively.
Ocon:Yeah. And there’s zero loss in the corners?
To Ocon:Yeah. There’s a small amount at turn one, absolutely, but you gain in turn four and then you lose it towards the end up to turn six again because of the tow there. We’ll go through it in more detail in the office.
Ocon:Did we say that I was going behind Daniel in this session and I was always in front?
To Ocon:Esteban, now isn’t the time to talk about these thing, OK, let’s talk about it in the office.

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23 comments on “Ocon: Lack of tow increased gap to Ricciardo”

  1. Ocon already searching for excuses but i know he isn’t that great if he hasn’t the fastest car. against Riccardo and his absense of 1 and half year i expect nothing from Ocon. I think he is already past his prime

    1. @macleod so you are saying that somebody who is just about to turn 24 this year has “already peaked” and is “past his prime”, with no further room to develop as a driver?

  2. I find it really hard to like Ocon. Seems like he gets an excuse ready as soon as he’s shown he’s slower than his teammate. He’s going to have it hard this year… Ricciardo is going to make his comeback rather miserable.

    1. @todfod Where was Ocon making excuses? It seems to be like he was expressing surprise at being so far back and it was his engineer who stated that the tow accounted for the majority of the gap. And as for the last two radio messages, we don’t know whether he was supposed to be in front or not.

      1. @mashiat Exactly, nearly all comments here are blaming Ocon for making excuses. None of them have read the transcript it seems or they just wish to beat down on him.

        1. Yeah. It wasn’t Ocon’s fault He did what he could but Red Bull Ring is the track where you need slipstream. If you don’t get it is very hard to be faster than others.

        2. @sravan-pe

          We’ve read the transcript to the end.. maybe you should as well. He brought up the tow issue on the radio hinting that Ricciardo got it and he didn’t. This kind of discussion is left for the debrief as pointed out by his engineer in the last line of their communication.

          1. @todfod Can you show me exactly when he “brought up the tow issue on the radio”?

          2. @sravan-pe

            Ocon: Did we say that I was going behind Daniel in this session and I was always in front?
            To Ocon: Esteban, now isn’t the time to talk about these thing, OK, let’s talk about it in the office.

            I shouldn’t have to quote something from the article. Just scroll up and read.

          3. @todfod

            but you can see the speed delta on the straight line, Danny’s best lap to the one you just did, there’s easily four tenths there based on the tow

            This came from his engineer before what you just quoted. So it wasnt’t him who brought it up. If his engineer says he lost time because of a lack of tow what do you expect?

          4. @sravan-pe

            Yes.. but there was no point in bringing up the team order for running first and second on the radio… as mentioned by his engineer in the last exchange between them. That discussion is supposed to be behind closed doors, not opened for public debate as Ocon ensured it was as soon as he got out qualified.

          5. @todfod I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. If you read my first comment you’ll see that I merely pointed out that Ocon was receiving a lot of criticism (disproportionately) for making excuses. Once he finished the lap and found out he was 0.6 behind he made it clear that he doesn’t know where the gap came from having done ‘clean lap’ in his own words. He did not come up with the excuse himself, it was his engineer who pointed it out. Are you saying the engineer was wrong? I don’t blame Ocon for mentioning the tow in front of the media. Any driver would’ve done so in his position.

            That discussion is supposed to be behind closed doors

            Yea right no other driver has ever asked the same question on team radio, correct? Of course he wants to know it because it’s just the first race and he’s so far behind. At that moment you simply can’t expect him to not ask that as a reaction.

            Ocon ensured it

            FYI not every radio message gets broadcast so he wasn’t ensuring anything at all. If you want to make it look purposeful in some way then go ahead :)

          6. @sravan-pe

            I don’t blame Ocon for mentioning the tow in front of the media. Any driver would’ve done so in his position.

            Yeah.. and they would get flak for it. Exactly like how Ocon is getting now.

            Yea right no other driver has ever asked the same question on team radio, correct? Of course he wants to know it because it’s just the first race and he’s so far behind. At that moment you simply can’t expect him to not ask that as a reaction.

            He already knows he’s 0.6s behind because of the lack of tow. His engineer already told him so. Bringing up team orders for running first and second on the radio isn’t required. Might as well take a loud speaker and shout out that Ricciardo is favoured in Renault. Being a cry baby in your first race back will get him flak.. don’t know how you can defend that

            FYI not every radio message gets broadcast so he wasn’t ensuring anything at all. If you want to make it look purposeful in some way then go ahead :)

            Sure… F1 drivers don’t know the easiest way to make sure everyone knows is by blabbering on the radio. Keep telling yourself that.

          7. @todfod Oh dear you still don’t get my point. The amount of flak someone gets should be proportional to what they’ve done. In this case it’s only the first race and I’m not saying Ocon will be faster next week or anything. It’s too early to judge whether he’ll be competitive against Ricciardo or not. This is what I said in my first comment btw

  3. First race and already playing the games on the radio? Knowing his past at Force India and the troubles with Perez, this doesn’t shape well….

  4. I used to like Ocon simply because he was fast driver who wasn’teasily intimidated and afraid to go wheel to wheel. This latest whine is understandable but only if it is genuine and not a reflex action to getting outqualified. If Daniel’s lap hadn’t been messed up by Bottas’s excursion the difference would’ve been even greater!!!

  5. Did Wolff just said that Bottas deliberately going off track to make sure Lewis didn’t get a tow?

    1. @ruliemaulana That would make no sense. Bottas gives Hamilton a tow through the three longest straights in the whole track, then decides to cut-off Hamilton’s tow in the half of the track where it’s probably better to run in clean air? I prefer to stick to the sensible conclusion, which is that he just made a mistake.

  6. for someone who got used to follow Perez home for most of his time in F1, this guy is way overated.
    And probably out of contention for a Mercedes seat too. Russell looks more promising.

  7. The title should read. Lack of Hulkenberg increases gap to Riccardo.

  8. Excuses already. I’m sorry but you’ve had the whole weekend to figure out that having a tow is better. You’ve had data from last year to show that having a tow is better, you should have the team or engineers who would know this stuff from past experience or his even his own experience being in the Merc team and sitting in debriefs etc. etc.

    To say that he lost out to Ricciardo partially because of tow means either he is slow or has not completed his homework (probably both).

  9. Bring back single-lap qualifying to get rid of tow controversy.

  10. It’s funny that Renault said a week before in articles that they weren’t going to have favourites, and reading that last transcript they lied and absolutely are playing favourites. Can’t wait for Danny to leave that terribly managed team, that isn’t able to look inwards to improve rather puts blame on other factors.

Comments are closed.