Esteban Ocon says his time away from performing in Formula 1 has made him hungrier than ever to get back behind the wheel successfully.
Due to the formation of Racing Point in place of Force India which saw Lance Stroll given a seat with the former, Ocon was suddenly left without a 2019 seat, with teams not keen to take him on due to his affiliation with Mercedes as a junior driver.
However, a few weeks ago he was confirmed as Renault’s new recruit in place of Nico Hulkenberg, and will take up his role in 2020.
He insists his time away from competing at the highest level has left him eager to get going again.
"This year has been tough mentally and on the emotion side as well, seeing those guys go so well and me being on the sideline. It's not something that's particularly great,” Ocon told Motorsport.com
"But I think it can only make you stronger and more keen to come back, and I'm more hungry for when I come back."
It hasn’t been a completely unproductive campaign for Ocon, though, as he has gained valuable knowledge of the behind-the-scenes workings of the Silver Arrows garage.
"A lot of things," he responded when asked what he has gotten out of 2019 in his reserve driver capacity.
"I didn't drive as much as I would have liked to. Back in those days you could test the cars and drive millions of kilometres before getting back in it.
"I've done that in the simulator. I did test all the parts that the team put on the weekend. So I am aware of all the latest news of the current generation of cars. I think that's a positive thing.
"On the other side not being driving I could also learn the other part of the world of F1, which is more experience, more knowledge for me and more things learned for the future.
"Seeing what the team expect from a driver, some things you cannot think about when you are racing. Because you don't hear the people speaking internally and all that.
"As Toto [Wolff] always says, the more things you see and the more knowledge you have for the future, the more experience that makes in the end. And that makes you a better athlete, also a better driver in the end, a better package."
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