Esteban Ocon, Renault, Nurburgring, 2020

Ocon improving but needs to address “small mistakes” – Abiteboul

2020 F1 season

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Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul is pleased with Esteban Ocon’s progress in his return to Formula 1, despite him lagging well behind team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

With 11 races of 17 completed, Ocon lies 12th in the standings on 36 points, while Ricciardo lies fourth on 78.

Abiteboul said Ocon has made clear improvements over the last few races which haven’t yet been reflected in his results. He has retired due to technical problems in two of the last three rounds.

“He needs to do what he’s been doing [for] a few races that, unfortunately, have not really materialised, but for reasons that are not in his direct control,” said Abiteboul.

A hydraulic problem sidelined Ocon in the last round at the Nurburgring and his brakes overheated in the Tuscan Grand Prix. Abitboul admitted “it’s still not very clear what happened with the brake warming issue” at Mugello.

“But let’s be clear, since Monza – Monza was difficult – it’s been a reset of Esteban, the way that the we are all working together. There’s been a lot of discussion, lots of hard work for Mark Slade, who is not new into race engineering, in order to bring him through the steps.”

Abiteboul said he isn’t concerned about the scale of the gap between Ocon and Ricciardo.

“He needs to be very pragmatic about the situation, which is not a disaster. Frankly, if you if you were to remove the points he has lost due to lack of reliability he would probably be behind Daniel by a chunk.

“But we’re talking about Daniel Ricciardo. He never had such a strong team mate. He has had good team mates, Perez in particular is strong, but I believe that Daniel is stronger.”

Ocon “needs to be very pragmatic and set himself some realistic targets” said Abiteboul. “But also look at his current performance, which he should not be ashamed of and build his confidence.

“Build also his ability to be a bit patient sometimes. Like lots of young drivers he has a bit of impatience that’s leading him to do some small mistakes.

“But I have absolutely no worries that this cannot be fixed and with the support of the team around him, it will be fixed.”

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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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22 comments on “Ocon improving but needs to address “small mistakes” – Abiteboul”

  1. Copy/Paste replace: Ocon to Gasly, Renault to Red Bull, Abiteboul to Horner.

    For variation, switch out Horner with Helmut.

    1. I wrote Gasly instead of Albon, still works, just a year earlier.

  2. Or he might get replaced by Gasly for next season if there’s any truth to the recent rumors.

    1. @jerejj Just rumours they don’t make any sense, Gasly can’t bring anything to the table that Ocon already has.

      1. Gasly can’t bring anything to the table that Ocon already has.

        At least he is a proven race winner in F1.
        I rate his current driving skills a tad higher than Ocon’s.
        And not unimportant: Ocon is constantly reminded that he is still a Mercedes driver (albeit not contracted). Even Wolff mentioned last week that Ocon is still in the running for the future Merc seat. He might always check out if his actions to improve his chances to drive for Mercedes rather than doing the most for Renault.
        @johnrkh

        1. @coldfly I think that for a team like Mercedes, getting up to speed and racing for all he is worth does more than maybe letting Bottas through and losing out on a podium, if that were a situation he’d find himself in.

          1. maybe letting Bottas through and losing out on a podium

            There are more subtle ways to help his potential future employer.
            Although Brazil 2018 tells me Ocon might not understand ‘subtle’ ;)
            @bosyber

        2. @coldfly He’s 100% under contract at Renault, not on-loan.

          1. @coldfly The management-aspect is the only link left.

          2. He’s 100% under contract at Renault

            Correct, @jerejj.
            That’s why I included the bit in parentheses and the reference to Wolff’s comments last week.

      2. Actually they make a lot of sense. Ocon is definitely quick enough but it has nothing to do with speed.

      3. How many race wins is Ocon bringing to the table?
        Which one has knocked the leader out of a race to trying to settle scores from F3?

  3. For a driver who has been out of a car for well over 12 months he is doing OK imo.

    1. I don’t think a 12 month absence is a suitable excuse at this stage. I would give him 3 race weekends to get up to speed but after that the gap is no longer an excuse for me. It’s not like he was doing what Hulkenberg did where he was out of a the seat and didn’t really get a pre season to preop in the car. Ocon has had time to acclimatize to the car and even after a number of race weekends his performance level is still some way off Ricciardo.

      I think he’ll still be at Renault next year but that will be for stability more than anything else.

  4. He finishes one or two positions behind Ocon and between 10 to 20 seconds. Indeed agreed with Abiteboul that for going against a top talent like Ricciardo that is not too bad.

    It would help if he improved his qualifying some perhaps, to get a bit closer than 2 to 3 tenths he’s been trailing so far.

  5. Ocon has been disappointing yes. Unexpected.

  6. Ocon is overhated. For the absolute most part of the time since 2017, he is trailing his team mate, even when he is faster in qualy.
    3 seasons in and again being the lesser scorer of his team. Can’t say he’s a promise anymore. He isn’t going nowhere. Mercedes material, it’s already clear he is not.

      1. care to explain or that’s all you’ve got?

  7. Not good when the Team Manager is making unsolicited excuses for a driver.
    To quote Monte P. “The end is nigh …”.

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