Ocon was within 'touching' distance of something special in 2020

Esteban Ocon feels that he and Renault were within "touching" distance of something special by the end of last year, as he made headway on his Formula 1 return.

Ocon was within 'touching' distance of something special in 2020

The Frenchman took some time to get fully up to speed again after a year away from racing and needing to adjust to the characteristics of Renault's F1 machinery.

After successfully closing down the gap to teammate Daniel Ricciardo, Ocon took his maiden podium finish with second place at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Ocon said his improved form at the end of the campaign came as the result of an increased confidence in the car, which allowed him to experiment more with set-up and try things out which delivered gains on track.

"We were experimenting more and more on my side than we were earlier in the year," he explained.

"Early on, I was trying to sort my driving out, and sort everything I was doing on track.

"And unfortunately in Formula 1, you gain more time by working closer with your engineers and working more on the car because, in the end, that's going to give you the confidence. The driving is then going to come with it.

"In the end, I feel that we did that a lot better later in the year, and I was happier with the car. I was the happiest with the car in Bahrain 1 than I was the whole season.

"That's where the car felt very strong. I think we were touching with the finger on something, and it was definitely the right way and the right progression."

Read Also:

Ocon said that it was only when he began competing for Renault that he understood the challenge it would be to learn a new car – as there were aspects of his previous time with Force India and Mercedes that he had to start again from scratch with.

"Overall the car doesn't work the same as the Mercedes does, like I drove in testing, or the Force India," he said. "They are not the same and don't have the same characteristics.

"You don't take the corner the same way, it's a little bit different. The way of approaching and the way of tuning the car, it's not the same.

"So I've had to relearn stuff that I thought was already there. I thought I was going to come back and do the same way as I was doing in Force India, and, you know, get the car sorted for me. But it's not the case.

"All the cars are different. And, yeah, that is something I've learned: that you need to find the best way, and the best way to set it up to go faster on the lap. And clearly, that is something we understood more and more through the year."

shares
comments

Related video

Retro: The point-less minnow F1 teams of 1991

Previous article

Retro: The point-less minnow F1 teams of 1991

Next article

What you need to know about F1 2021

What you need to know about F1 2021
Load comments
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021