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Ocon: Racing in Saudi Arabia will be an exciting and challenging experience

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Samar Yahya
Riyadh – :

“As kids, the love for motorsport came to us from my dad. He is very intense which helped in my career specially in carting where he is the mechanic in charge. I started to race and started winning, and quickly it got serious – many teams were looking into having me at a very young age and this is what took me to where I am and who I am today as a driver.” Esteban Ocon, Renault DP World F1 Team driver said to Al Bilad English Daily in an exclusive interview, which was, facilitated through DP World the team’s global logistics partner.

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Renault DP World F1 Team walks the circuit with the team.
Tuscan Grand Prix, Italy.

“Motivation was big and there has been a lot of sacrifices within my family in order to be able to achieve what we have achieved and realising of our work today.”

On Ocon’s expectations and ambitions from racing in Saudi Arabia next year, he said: “I’m looking forward to discovering a new track, a street track, on the evening as well. This is going to be very special as they bring plenty of challenges. It is already very different than to be racing in normal tracks, the weekends must be built differently; you need to be more careful.

“And you know as the more time is past into the weekend of the race the track gets warmer and you go faster and faster. So, it is a big challenge to be racing in the night and on a street circuit and its quite rare, so it will be an awesome challenge and I look forward to it.”

On racing alongside Fernando Alonso, Ocon said that he is looking forward to be pushing with him to do the best for the team.

“It is extremely good news that Fernando is back in F1, especially for Renault DP World F1 team that he won for twice in 2005 and 2006. That would be like the last step for us in improving. He will be bringing his knowledge, information and experience and the collaboration would be great!”

One of the remarkable skills that Alonso enjoys is being extremely fast and can take a quick decision or so in the races, and he is a very good all-rounded driver.

Being a kid, Ocon’s idol was Michael Schumacher “Schumacher’s fight with Fernando fed my love to the sport and the motivation they gave me is what brings me to who I am today.”

On how Ocon thinks of the R.S.20 car in terms of handling the conditions and racing in the Middle East’s hot and dry conditions, especially that it is his first season with Renault, he said: “We have tried the car in very hot conditions this year, obviously that is a bit harder and we have a few things to address. But I have no doubt that the car will make it. And we have to make it as drivers!”

As approaching the end of the season, Ocon talked about his performance saying that it is good overall to see the progression they achieved.

“Our performance during the end of the season was noticeably better than the beginning and this is what we should consider. We unfortunately faced few mechanical retirements that slowed us down in terms of points for the constructors and for the driver’s championship. Hence, we learned from this season’s incidents and we’ll hopefully not face them again, we also ended the season with high performance and this is where we will re-start next season.”

“During the season there have been a few difficult times, but what’s more important is the learnings we get from such times. There were a few occasions where it didn’t go as we planned, yet what’s more important is to look at the key learning and how I progressed.” Ocon said

On how 2020 is an exceptional year, Ocon said that this period proved to us that health and safety are even greater than sports, the safety measures that are put into place this year during the race makes me race at ease. It took us a while to plan for the season during lockdown, especially with all the uncertainty that we were globally facing and it’s something the world haven’t faced before.

“I paid great attention to protect myself from COVID-19 transmission, I was probably the first driver to put on a face mask back in March whilst racing. It wasn’t very pleasant to have a facemask on at the beginning and I was maybe the first sports man to wear a mask in Australia, but I got used to it as it’s the least we can do to protect the loved ones and ourselves. We need to show a good example.”

Ocon advises youngsters who are passionate about F1 racing to enjoy the moment whilst racing, whether racing in a regular race car, or a carting car and to be happy with what they do

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