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Ocon concedes to 'underestimating' challenge of F1 year out

Ocon concedes to 'underestimating' challenge of F1 year out

Ocon concedes to 'underestimating' challenge of F1 year out

Ocon concedes to 'underestimating' challenge of F1 year out
Ian Parkes & Sam Hall

Esteban Ocon has revealed he "underestimated" the effects of his year on the sidelines in 2019.

Ocon failed to secure an F1 seat for the 2019 season after Renault elected to sign Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull instead of the Frenchman.

With Racing Point, now Aston Martin, having announced Lance Stroll as his replacement already, Ocon was left with no option but to watch from the garages where he served as reserve driver for Mercedes.

After returning to the grid with Renault in 2019, the team at which he remains after its rebranding to Alpine, the Frenchman conceded to finding adapting back to life in the cockpit an unexpected difficulty.

"It's not easy to fit all the details in Formula 1, but I did probably underestimate how much time it would take me to come back to my full potential after the year out," said Ocon in a post-season media briefing including GPFans.

"I feel like I'm not completely there yet, but it's not far off so I want to keep going.”

Last season was a strong campaign for Ocon as he ended the year 11th, one place behind team-mate Fernando Alonso, and scored his maiden F1 victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"Of course, we, in general, made a big step in terms of understanding, in terms of myself feeling more confident in the car, in terms of just the approach we took, basically from the end of 2020 to 2021 really, really paid off," he explained.

“But I don't want to stop there, I want to take it to the next level even more. I think I'm pleased with how we ended this season, on a strong note.

“There have been some good discussions and I want to keep improving as a sportsman, as an athlete, and I'm looking for that.

“We have full honesty in the team which means I tell the guys that if they think I can do better in one aspect, they need to tell me straight away, not being afraid.

“We don't want to have time lost like that, because that could help me to take the next step, all those little details, and that's what I want to keep doing."

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