Returning to F1 with Renault, Esteban Ocon had to once again find his rhythm in the car as the question of how much to push during testing arose.
Due to the non-competitive nature of F1 winter testing, and the risk of damage ever present, it’s often assumed that drivers and teams prefer to stay on the safe side by going slower and not pushing the limits, so that they can more laps under their belt.
However, Renault driver Ocon has said that it’s still very important to make sure to push and hustle the car early on, so as to have knowledge about the machine heading into the new season. For the same, the Frenchman said he had discussions with management.
“[Even if it is testing] you still you still have to push the car,” said Ocon to media including FormulaRapida.net. “We had a good chat with with Cyril and Alain about this. It’s important that you push the car to have good references to have yourself ready.
“But also to have proper data because that’s the way you’re going to be able to improve the car. You can’t have the compromise like that. You still have to push it like if there was more time, and hopefully there won’t be mistakes.”
Ocon completed 190 laps in the three days of testing as Renault split the running on all the days between him and Ricciardo. It is unclear as to where the team stands at the moment but the Frenchman laid down his thoughts with regards to the R.S.20.
“I tried to to have the first feel,” started Ocon. “It’s not true that I [am] just not leaning on it yet. I’m driving, trying to get the rust off of me also. It’s been some time since I didn’t properly drive a car, which means with somebody next to me and having references etc.
“I’m just trying to get back up to speed. And it’s important to have decent lap times to be able to feel how the car reacts in the race condition or in the in the practice condition. It’s a good base that we are having at the moment with the R.S.20.
“Sometimes when you step in cars and you think ah, there is an issue that you’re trying to solve for the whole winter, there isn’t any kind of that at the moment. So it feels pretty healthy.” In addition to this, Ocon discussed what it’s like to be back with Renault.
“There’s always little things that some teams do differently than others,” said Ocon. “But overall, I had a lot of time to get to know everyone again, because some of the people are still here from 2016 when I was with the team, so that made things easy to settle down.
“My performance engineer was Pascal Wehrlein’s in Manor in 2016, so I know most of the people in the team, in the race team. In the factory I had to learn who was who. With the time I had in the Abu Dhabi test, I feel well settled in and well prepared.”
Here’s the details from first F1 test
Here’s how Day 1 of F1 Barcelona test ended
Here’s how Day 2 of F1 Barcelona test ended
Here’s how Day 3 of F1 Barcelona test ended
The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani