Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524 launch, 2024

Ocon will “do something very different” to stay fit during longest-ever season

Formula 1

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Esteban Ocon says he will be taking greater precautions to protecting his health over the season in 2024.

Many drivers and team staff suffered from the demands of the schedule towards the end of last season. Ocon suffered from a fever at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which resulted in him missing his Thursday media duties.

At the time, Ocon pointed to the unusual scheduling of the previous event of the Las Vegas Grand Prix held a week prior as likely contributing to his illness. He also expressed his concerns over the 2024 F1 calendar, which features a record 24 rounds, suggesting that the human body was ‘not designed for that’.

Speaking to media including RaceFans at the launch of Alpine’s new A524 at Enstone, Ocon said he will be applying lessons he learned last season to protect himself better in 2024.

“I will do something very different, that’s clear,” Ocon said. “I got quite unlucky with the Las Vegas events.

“Obviously we were meeting a lot of people in that weekend and we didn’t see the sunlight for four or five days. So it was quite hard and everyone got sick, 80% of the paddock probably got sick at the time.

“But yes, I’m going to be doing things very differently this year. I’ve been sick enough this winter, so that I got all my immune system ready for the year. So I’ve been training well, I’m going to be back in my training centre every day in between races, limiting most of the things that should not happen and focus on the races.”

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Ocon says Alpine are placing much greater emphasis on their team’s endurance this year due to the expected demands from Formula 1’s longest ever season.

“You guys are going to see how much change there is out of our garages, our hospitality and that’s transformed all the different departments there is,” he said.

“We’ve created some new departments for healthcare inside the team, mental health as well, that’s very important. For the 24 races scheduled we need to have everyone at 100%. It’s going to be very busy.”

Alpine head into their new season with a newly-confirmed permanent team principal in Bruno Famin as they look to gain ground on the top teams ahead of them in last year’s championship. Ocon says the team are already changing some of their processes for the better.

“I’ll give you an example – last year we took more than half a day to do a seat fit and things were not perfect still arriving to Bahrain,” he explained.

“This year, 15 minutes, that was it. I know exactly where I am compared to last year in terms of height at the half-millimetre. That’s just learning from one year and getting things to a better level.”

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Ocon says he is looking forward to seeing whether or not the team’s data about their new car will translate into real world performance.

“I’m very much looking forward to racing again,” he said. “It’s been a long time that I haven’t put my butt into a race car, so that’s good.

“I look forward to seeing exactly how that car feels. We’ve been testing it in the simulator, we trust our numbers, but you want to validate that going on the track. So testing that, feeling that, is going to be a big thing for us.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Ocon will “do something very different” to stay fit during longest-ever season”

  1. Sometimes you just get sick. It doesn’t help if you’re not getting enough rest, though. They need to give all the tracks an average driver rating, then factor in (and give added weight to) the RaceFans commenter rating. Pick the top 16 – 18 of them, then add an opening and mid-season non-championship race that’s testing and glitz-focused. There should also be a prototype test somewhere in the development process to reduce the risk of almost all the grid producing duff cars.

    1. Good suggestions. I was thinking something similar. Less is more, for everyone. The teams the drivers the fans the competition. Only not for the big wig pockets.

      As you say though this can be supplemented with non championsip race weekends. I would also suggest that many races, 19 or 17 max. If they want to visit another half dozen places then add them into the off-season and during the season for those events that are more for glitz and location. However if the drivers ar to not participate it would be hard to sell those events. Off season could be for upcoming drivers

      This doesn’t reduce the load for the team though so realistically it won’t happen and neither will they want to reduce from 24 races. If anything they’ll add 1 or add a sprint to every weekend.

      Also another issue with so many races and points currently on offer, ( that I have commented many times on this site and other but with little response) is that the more races you have the less chance of a full season title race (unless they only count the results of the top 10 form half season onwards for the title, but this would be odd maybe)

      Let me be clear, 2021 was a freak season, and I believe its very unlikely for example that the title will go down to wire another time this decade. At most it might 1 time by chance. Currently there are 27 GP’s worth of points available over a season. If they add prints to every weekend it will be about 33.

      Even the close field of indycar would to make a title battle last 27 races, let alone lackluster “competition” that is formula 1.

      I will continue to say it, an F1 fans best bet of increased competition is for an equally fast international competitor to arise. It’s unlikely? Yes exactly.

      They make plenty from race hosting fees and extra races that they don’t need to care too much about the raving overall. F1 also has the hype and it has and has had fans stuck in a perpetual loop of hopes. Liverty have greatly capitalised and now ever more there is little requirements for the raving to be good. The bar is so low that is doesn’t really matter to them and they’ve built enough interest in teams, personalities and off track things that racing isn’t solely needed to keep people interested.

      Fair play to liberty but I can’t take F1 seriously anymore.

      1. Thanks. I was thinking of following up by suggesting Monaco as the season opener (put it out to pasture) and the Indy 500 as the mid-season pleaser. Perhaps not representative test tracks for F1, but it might mean nobody would be sandbagging as these races mean a lot on their own. Monaco does have some allure as a qualifying event before the mobile billboard parade begins, and it wouldn’t fully reveal overall race pace. It was supposed to be a joke, but it might shake things up a bit, particularly since F1 drivers and cars would be hopeless at Indy. In exchange, Indycar can have Jeddah – plenty of walls to crash into and bring out the safety car. They could advertise it as: “Here comes The Big One!”.

        A more serious suggestion would be that the non-championship events could rotate. The first should be spectacular in some way, or have some real heritage (like if it were possible to bring F1 back to Watkin’s Glen – which might be more acceptable in an exclusive, expensive, lower-crowd setting). The second one could be a carnival just before the season break. Hopefully it would allow the smaller teams to do some real testing while drumming up a bit of business.

        There’s been a circus around F1 for a long time. I don’t know that there’s anything about the newer money that’s less classy than the old of somewhere like Monaco (I wouldn’t consider any of it classy!). Perhaps the inauthenticity of the tracks? A good track is a good track, though, and I think earlier Spa layouts were nowhere near as good as the one from the 80s and 90s (largely the same as the current one). If someone can build a cool circuit out of nothing in the desert, then good for them. A lot of the tracks were built from nothing at some stage and have just been around for ages. The initial appeal might have been the location itself (Monza and Italy is more attractive than some desert!).

        A rival series would be interesting. There might not be the money for it given the dominance of F1, but it would be good to see something that’s genuinely interested in performance and less restrictive in its formula. I liked when you could have all sorts of engines competing against each other. If we could see modern hybrids or other exotic drivetrains beating V10s and V12s then it might even drum up more enthusiasm for newer technologies than if you just have to use them. Not that the newer exotics would necessarily win. I’d love to see what would happen. For now, there’s racing a 1986, 2004 and 2023 F1 car against each other at Indianapolis in Assetto Corsa.

        You’re probably right about the difficulty in keeping the championship close over more races. I’m not sure what an acceptable level of nudging would be, but it would be no harm for certain things to be encouraged, like a top driver in any team that has both Verstappen and the best car. I’d expect that Max could still win in a slightly deficient car, but I can’t see a fair way of encouraging that. Still, it could happen this year. Here’s hoping!

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