Esteban Ocon, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Ocon gives himself ‘six out of ten’ for first races since return

2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon says he had plenty of room for improvement in his first six races since his comeback to Formula 1.

The Renault driver spent 2019 on the sidelines before returning alongside Daniel Ricciardo at Renault. Asked by RaceFans how pleased he was with his comeback so far, Ocon said he’s had a mix of highs and lows.

“There’s been some good signs this season,” he said. “We have shown that we are capable of being quick. Qualifying fifth in my second grand prix was nice.

“But then we had a missed opportunity in the race. Then we had a little bit of a down in Budapest then an up for Silverstone then down [in Spain].

“So if if I take only the good races, I would say 7.5 [out of 10]. Then if I take the bad races, let’s give it overall for the performance, six for now. Hopefully we’re going to be improving.”

Both Renault drivers finished out of the points in the previous race at the Circuit de Catalunya. “For sure we are disappointed as a team with the result,” said Ocon.

“[From] the beginning of the weekend we lacked pace with our car. It was obviously not easy where we qualified.

“To come back, normally we have good pace in the race, we had better pace than we had in qualifying but it’s not enough to be able to make a comeback. It’s a very tough place to overtake.

“I did some overtakes for quite a few laps but out of the point is not as enjoyable.”

Ocon’s engine is due to be replaced for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. “I think we are going to be a lot quicker in Spa, hopefully,” he said.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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18 comments on “Ocon gives himself ‘six out of ten’ for first races since return”

  1. Sounds about right. But I am talking Ocon, where he seems to be talking about the overall team.

    1. You thought he had promise? I thought, and still do think, that he’s average by F1 standards.

      Though, to his credit, he doesn’t seem as over aggressive as he did.

      1. Sorry, was meant to be a reply to Igor further down the list. I blame stupidity.

      2. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
        28th August 2020, 10:40

        He definitely had promise at some stage, very impressive in 2016 and 2017.

  2. Hm, I would say that might be accurate, although I’d say a 6- would be more appropriate. Ocon certainly hasn’t shown any exciting drives so far this season.

  3. Ocon, for me, has been the biggest let-down of the season. None of the true promise he showed before his sabbatical.

    1. @sterma mind you, you have to take into account the fact that the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix was the first time that Ocon had competed in a race for over 18 months, and his pre-season test was the first time in over a year that he’d sat in any sort of race car – with the added complications of trying to make a change in teams when current social guidelines are limiting the amount of people he could meet.

      People were praising Hulkenberg for his performance in Silverstone in that second race, but bear in mind that he’d been out of the sport for less than half the time that Ocon has and, unlike Ocon, he has still been actively racing in that period. If Hulkenberg was expected to be off the pace to begin with, why would a driver who has been out of the sport for significantly longer than Hulkenberg not also be expected to take some time to get back up to pace as well?

      1. @anon No, Hulkenberg hadn’t been racing actively before his temporary return, only a test in a GT car at Nurburgring, nothing else. As for Ocon, he actually had ‘sat’ in a race car during his sabbatical by doing a demo run in GFOS in the 2017 W08, as well as a tyre test in the following season’s car, and for Renault in Abu Dhabi post-GP, but yes, not much running, so the same impact.

      2. @anon

        Ocon went through pre season testing… that should have shaken the dust off him. Hulkenberg jumped in the 2020 spec car for the first time during a race weekend. Sorry, but Ocon was definitely less rusty than Hulkenberg was.

  4. I have never been too impressed with Ocon and this season is continuing that trend. He’s never really shown any promise beyond the midfield, and seeing his performances compared to Ricky doesn’t make me hopeful about how he’ll fair against Alonso.

    So far, removing Hulk from the team for Ocon doesn’t seem to have done anything for the team except remove a ton of experience. The weird mistakes that resulted in on-track incidents have been a bit concerning, his track awareness needs a bit of work, but we could say that’s from being a bit rusty even after six races, I hope.

    1. Yeah, I have the impression he’ll up his game once he’s more settled in and the car is a bit better. I just hope it doesn’t become a drama with Alonso on the other seat; both are very ‘stubborn’ personalities, to put it mildly.

    2. @aiii

      To be fair his rookie and sophomore seasons were fairly impressive. I thought he had the measure of Perez, who is arguably, the strongest midfield driver over the past few seasons. I think it’s a little early to be judging him. Maybe 10 races in to the season we’ll see what he’s made of. But I do see your point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t show up at all. In the new era of star drivers – Max, Charles, Lando, George and (apparently) Ocon , he comfortably sits in last position among them. Personally, I’d rate Ocon somewhere between Gasly and Stroll in terms of performance.

  5. I’ve forgotten he was back at times this year given how much he’s in the shadow of his teammate. His stock is plummeting fast. Can’t comment much on his rating as I’ve barely seen anything of him in races.

    1. @slowmo I agree, he’s been quite invisible at times, almost as if he wasn’t even in the races, although the same also applies to Kvyat, and also to an extent to the Haas and Alfa Romeo-drivers, but so the former two.

      1. @jerejj I think when you look that his teammate keeps popping up in the points places it just compounds how anonymous he’s been and Kvyat does indeed have the same problem. Haas, Williams and Alfa Romeo seem some distance away from the other 6 teams in the midfield so I don’t think much is going to change with them for this year. Obviously Kmag and Grosjean will pop up periodically as they have an entanglement with other drivers as they seemingly attract contact.

        1. The 5 midfield teams I meant as Red Bull are clearly not in that band (unless driven by Albon).

  6. I think next year won’t be easy for him now that Fernando is back.

    1. I think he might get a slight confidence boost while Alonso is getting rid of the rust in the opening races, but I don’t see him coming close to Alonso over an entire season. He doesn’t seem like he’ll play nice teammate either.

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