Most drivers who set out on the road to Formula 1 never make it, and those that do find it almost as hard to stay there as to get there in the first place. But the rarest of breeds is the returnee - the driver who arrives, disappears then returns triumphant. This is exactly what Esteban Ocon aspires to do, either by taking Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes seat or landing a deal with a rival team.
In elite sport, a year on the sidelines is regarded as disastrous for career momentum. Losing a year when you have a relatively short competitive shelf-life is never a good thing, but it's not necessarily the body blow some believe it to be. If Ocon is frustrated, he just needs to look to the example of a certain Fernando Alonso.
After a successful rookie season with Minardi, during which he impressed those paying close attention despite not finishing above 10th and, on countback to a best result, ending up behind team-mate Tarso Marques in the championship, Alonso was benched for 2002. Like Ocon, he spent that season as test driver for a manufacturer team - Renault.