Esteban Ocon, Renault, Algarve, 2020

Condensed season made F1 comeback harder – Ocon

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says the compressed of 2020 F1 calendar made working with a new team on his F1 return harder.

What they say

Ocon moved to Renault this season, after a year without a race seat, as the Mercedes reserve driver. He has been out-qualified by team mate Daniel Ricciardo 13 times this year, finishing Saturday ahead just once, at the Styrian Grand Prix:

He’s been quicker, clearly. After my year out I thought coming back it would take a little time for myself to to get back into it, to get obviously integrated properly into the team and try and work the way I did at Force India. But it took a little bit more time than I thought.

The way the season has condensed, as well, you don’t have much time to reflect on a race. You go straight away to another one. That’s how it’s been with the triple header. So we didn’t have time to properly analyse everything and come back and make it apply, we had only two days to get to it and straightaway go back to the fight.

So I think recently my performance has been better in qualifying, I think I’m closer to where I need to be. There’s still a bit of things that we can do better but overall I’m happier now, at the end of the season, than I was earlier. So it’s a better step.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Does Lewis Hamilton’s claim that he never had a timely opportunity to join Ferrari stack up?

There were two recent windows where Ferrari seemed to be in a rush to not sign Hamilton: re-signing Vettel a couple of years or so ago and signing Sainz this year. Both times, Hamilton’s Mercedes contract was running out.

That seems to indicate Ferrari are the less interested party. On the other hand, maybe it’s just a lack of intermediaries and communication. Ecclestone was famously the one to help engineer these switches.
David BR

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On this day in F1

  • 25 years ago today won the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix ahead of Jarno Trulli and Pedro de la Rosa. The race was red-flagged after Norberto Fontana triggered a huge, multi-car crash

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
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 “Condensed season made F1 comeback harder – Ocon”

  1. 25 years ago today won the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix

    The most important detail is missing here! 😂

    1. LOL!

      It was Ralf Schumacher, to save others the Google-ing :)

    2. Today is always ahead of yesterday and guaranteed to win if yesterday fails to finish.

  2. Interesting take on the Hamilton Ferrari article. Timing being the major reason is not how I read his comments at all. Sure he said timing matters, but also:

    Our positions have never aligned


    we didn’t go beyond understanding what options were on the table and they weren’t the right ones

    Says a lot more than just timing to me…

    1. @skipgamer Yep one of the reasons Hamilton gave for leaving MaLaren where the restrictions place on him away from the track. Also I think it’s obvious part of the success of the Merc/Hamilton combination is the working atmosphere inside the team.

    2. @skipgamer Yes, that’s what I thought, there’s a bit more depth to his question than just timing. At the same time, I can remember – as a long-term fan of the idea of Hamilton moving to Ferrari – these two occasions when Ferrari contracts were up for renewal and Hamilton had yet to settle again with Mercedes. So there seemed to be space for negotiations to take place, yet both times Ferrari were quick to announce a new signing (Leclerc 2018, Sainz 2020: @tifoso1989 kindly corrected me on that one). So any ‘Hamilton to Ferrari?’ stories were rapidly quashed. Of course that reluctance may come from either side or both. My guess is that Hamilton feels that Ferrari haven’t really gone out of their way to persuade him to sign, indicating that he was vital to their immediate future development – and presumably he has the Mercedes experience as a parameter. In a sense they’re the two biggest commodities (brands) in Formula 1 right now, Hamilton and Ferrari, so a clash may be inevitable, neither wanting to be swamped by the demands of the other.
      (btw thanks Hazel and Keith for COTD)

  3. Ocon Is such a sore looser.

    1. I don’t think he is. Just like most other drivers on the grid Ocon thinks he is special. Which obviously he is to some extend, otherwise he would not have made F1 on merit. He is just not one of those special talents. I still rate him in the top half of the current field, but well below the likes of Hamilton, Leclerc and Verstappen.
      I think any small chance he might have had to get a seat in the Mercedes team has vanished after this season. He didn’t outperform Perez, he is clearly outperformed by Ricciardo, that means you are a good driver for a midfield team, but not for the top.

    2. I think he’d do well at RBR as he and Max get along so well.

  4. I think when it comes to a potential recent hamilton-ferrari move I’m not so sure hamilton is really that interested. At merc he has all that he wants. A dominating car, freedom to pursue his interests on his own time, excellent salary, a known environment that is both mentally good for him and free of dramas and last but not least he has a deep connection with the big wigs at mercedes. He knows what is happening and when it is happening and what is in the future. He understands that information and what it means. And the factory is in england. He knows the place and speaks the language. The mercedes team is a perfect puzzle where every piece fits for not just him but everybody else in that team.

    At ferrari he would not have any of that. Struggling team with poor car, poor engine, fewer personal freedoms, all new faces with whom he has no shared history, culturally a step backwards for him, dramas unknown to him and no connection with the top wigs at ferrari.

    A switch to ferrari could make sense if there was potential in it. As I see it there is none. It is not that ferrari can not improve a lot even in short term. It is that they must just to make it back to being 2nd. Ferrari is in survival mode. Their engine program has huge issues and they are playing catch up. Their chassis is not up to par. Their technical teams are struggling. Ferrari is not the team to be in when results are bad.

    Move to ferrari would only make sense for hamilton if he was 7 years younger and could get the technical leaders at mercedes to go with him. And even then he would be sacrificing 3 years minimum before he could be winning at ferrari. That 3 years is 3 lost championships at mercedes. And that is the best case scenario. How many years does he have left anyways? Ferrari knows hamilton knows all this too.

    1. Well argued, hard not to agree there @socksolid.

    2. @socksolid That does make sense. I can only see Hamilton switching to Ferrari if they’re already the top team or committed to a 4-5 year plan to be the top team with him at the centre (as in the Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel and now, maybe, Leclerc cases). A factor I hadn’t remembered was that in 2018 there were probably already rumours about Ferrari’s engine being ‘questionable’, which materialized in 2019 when Red Bull appealed. So that may have caused Hamilton to back off too. I kind of feel that if Mercedes and Ferrari were on a par, he’d make the switch, if all the conditions were right, but that prospect has now vanished, at least until 2022.

  5. Merc deserve the credit, as they would have won it regardless. Ham deserves the credit for not making mistakes and being quick enough.
    Would Heikki have won it in 08? No, therefore McLaren does not deserve the bulk of credit, Ham does, It is simple, stop this non journalism.

    1. @peartree As brought up plenty times by Mercedes, it’s unlikely that Mercedes could have developed their car to this level without Hamilton helping them improve it.

      1. They are hardly going to say otherwise to the media, are they…

      2. @f1osaurus sure, he clearly knows what he is doing.

  6. It’s 81 or 82 front row lock outs to Merc since 2014.

    Between 2000-04 Ferrari had 15.

    McLaren had 8 in 1998.

    You’d have to say it’s the car.

    1. That only shows that Mercedes is not a #1 driver team. They have two good drivers and give them equal opportunities to perform.

      Plus looking at quali results during the “no refueling between Q3 and the race” era is just ridiculous.

      1. @f1osaurus the poster in question does not care for that though – Darren, being the latest fake name for the same troll that has cursed this site, has a rather blatantly clear political agenda to spam anti-Hamilton and pro-Verstappen posts. Fact, according to him, is a quality that can be ignored so this zealot can promote his ideological convictions.

    1. We will soon get an article extolling the virtues of racing in Saudi……….doh! we already had that.

  7. Who deserves the credit – Lewis Hamilton or Mercedes?

    Both needed each other.. They only achieved these results in cooperation.
    Yes, merc would have become WC as they have the fastest car by far in several years. But they needed HAM to wite history.
    Ham needs Merc to achieve his titels and without a merc he never would have done this for a total of 7. But still depending of the car he would have won several titels.
    So, they still are partners for the future ( or as long as Lewis will go on) The merc with VER or LEC would have won several titels, but probably not the same amount.

Comments are closed.