Esteban Ocon suspects the fever he is suffering from this weekend is related to the strains of Formula 1’s schedule.
Ocon arrived in Abu Dhabi feeling unwell and did not participate in media activities at the track on Thursday in order to rest. He said after qualifying on Saturday he was still feeling the effects of his fever.
The Alpine driver believes the combination of the unusual hours of the last two races, plus the length of F1’s schedule, have taken a toll on him. This is the 22nd event of this season, which is the same as last year, but the 2024 F1 calendar features a record-breaking 24 rounds.
“I’m not sure if it comes from [the Vegas timings] but we didn’t see the sun for four days,” said Ocon in response to a question from RaceFans after today’s qualifying session in Abu Dhabi. “There’s a lot of things that is pushing on the human body.
“Usually it’s when you come home from here, when [illness] happens. It’s one more race than last year, or two more races. The body is designed for that and not 24 or 23 races. So let’s see if we can escape from that next year.
After qualifying 12th on the grid for this weekend’s race, two places behind his team mate, Ocon said he was satisfied with his performance given his condition.
“It’s obviously not optimal to be in bed for two days before an F1 race,” said Ocon. “But I think we still did a good job considering all of that, considering not running in FP1 as well.
“We started pretty well with qualifying. I think we were straight away in a decent rhythm. It’s just that last run really which wasn’t ideal in terms of pace and how the car felt and picked up quite a lot of understeer with the car. Otherwise I think it would have been enough for Q3.
“So we’ll see tomorrow. I think there’s more pace than what we’ve shown today in the car and if we put everything together, hopefully there will be points on the table.”
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