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Ocon: 2019 reserve driver schedule destroyed me

Ocon: 2019 reserve driver schedule destroyed me

F1 News

Ocon: 2019 reserve driver schedule destroyed me

Ocon: 2019 reserve driver schedule destroyed me

Esteban Ocon insists his 2019 was one of the most taxing seasons of his career in his role as a reserve and simulator driver for Mercedes, even though he was not part of the Formula 1 grid.

After Lance Stroll took his place at Racing Point following Lawrence Stroll’s takeover, Ocon suddenly found himself without a team for 2020, with teams reportedly not keen on developing someone who was ultimately a Mercedes driver due to his link with the Silver Arrows academy.

He was retained as a reserve by Mercedes, with the thinking being he could eventually replace Valtteri Bottas. That didn’t happen, and Ocon was eventually allowed out of his Mercedes obligations to sign for Renault.

It will be a return to normality for the Frenchman after the rigours of 2019, which he says “destroyed” him.

"I mean, the season I had was very very demanding," Ocon said.

"I was not sleeping for two days [at a time], it was quite crazy - the amount of travel I was doing, and the amount of hours I was doing in the simulator and then travelling to track, doing stuff for Mercedes. They used me well but a lot.

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"So, I arrived, to be honest, after testing in Abu Dhabi, at my training camp [I was] the lightest I've ever been. I was destroyed basically, from the year."

Ahead of his debut season with Renault, he has revealed some details about the harsh training program which he completed in what was meant to be his time off in the winter.

"I spent the whole time off I had fully at my training camp, at altitude in the Pyrenees, like I've done in the past but even more,” he explained.

“Instead of starting 5th or 6th of January, I was there the 2nd. Instead of going back for Christmas the evening of 23rd [of December], I was there on the 24th. Stuff like that.

"And I didn't see home the whole winter. I was going back and forward to the factory.

"And yeah, my targets have been reached. I've put on four and a half kilos, which is good in two months, of muscle.

"So I'm pretty happy with my development. It's a good, solid base to start.”


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