#31 ESTEBAN OCON
Fast, reliable and highly consistent. Esteban Ocon holds the qualities of a future champion. With his potential truly showing in his first full season of Formula One in 2017, can he capitalise on it in 2018?
|Full Name||Esteban Ocon|
|Date of Birth||17th September 1996|
|First Race||2016 Belgain Grand Prix|
Esteban Ocon was born in Évreux, Normandy, in 1996 to parents with Spanish origins. His father is a mechanic, who owns a garage in the Évreux area. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Ocon would pursue an interest in cars from an early age, beginning his karting career aged ten. In his début championship, in the French Minime series, he finished eighth, before securing the title in 2007. He went on to take the French Cadet Championship in the following year, and then spent three seasons in the KF3 category, winning the French title and eventually finishing runner-up in the WSK Euro Series in 2011.
In 2012, Ocon stepped up to single-seaters. Three podiums in Formula Renault 2.0 saw him finish fourteenth in the Eurocup series, and he stayed in the championship for a second year to finish third with two victories. A strong showing at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix led him to a drive with Prema in the FIA F3 Euro championship for 2014, where he convincingly won the title with nine wins and 21 podiums from 33 races. Having become a member of Lotus F1’s junior team in 2013, the Frechman made his first F1 weekend appearance with an outing in practice at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In 2015, he switched to the Mercedes young driver program, and had testing outings with Force India. Meanwhile, Ocon was was busy on track, this time in GP3. He won the 2015 title with ART, despite claiming just one victory over the course of the season. Mercedes loaned him to Renault as their reserve driver for the 2016 season, while he also competed in the first ten rounds of the 2016 DTM season.
In August 2016, it was announced that Ocon would join the Manor team for the remainder of the F1 season, taking the place of Rio Haryanto. He put in a series of consistent performances and finished a best of twelfth in a rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix. In November 2016, Force India announced that he would be joining them for the 2017 season.
For many, Esteban Ocon was the positive surprise of the 2017 season. It was expected that the young Frenchman would be Force India’s number two to Sergio Perez, yet Ocon was more than a match for his vastly more experienced team-mate. Despite on-track tussles with the Mexican, Perez’s ruthless nature didn’t distract Ocon from the job at hand. He kept up his incredibly consistent finishing record until the Brazilian round of the championship, where he was taken out of the race on the first lap. Of the nineteen races he finished, Monaco was the only event where he failed to score a point. He started third on the grid in Monza, but despite coming close a number of times throughout the year, his quest for his first podium continues.
Ocon’s pace was improving through 2017. If his rate of development continues, then he’s likely to be at least a match for his team-mate in 2018. Looking to the future, there’s a potential opening at the World Champion team for 2019, and as a Mercedes junior driver, Ocon will be doing all he can to make sure his name is on the consideration list.
ESTEBAN OCON’S F1 RECORD
|2016||Manor||23rd (0 points)||0||0||0|
|2017||Force India||8th (87 points)||0||0||0|