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Esteban Ocon a star of the future, according to Lotus F1 team

Formula 3 European champion Esteban Ocon will be a Formula 1 star in the future, according to Lotus's trackside operations director Alan Permane

The Frenchman, who is part of Lotus's young driver programme, made his practice debut with the team during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend after having driven a 2012 car in testing at Valencia.

Ocon matched team-mate Pastor Maldonado's performance during the session, and left Permane in no doubt that he has all it takes to shine in F1.

"Working with drivers like him is an absolute pleasure," said Permane.

"He's obviously very quick - I don't think we needed to put him in our car to know that. There's no doubt.

"But his feedback is excellent. He doesn't have any preconceptions about the car, so he won't tell you that the tyres are getting too hot or the diffuser's stalling, he'll just tell you what it's doing - that it's understeering here.

"It all looks very positive for the future."

He added: "To finish his first practice session three tenths off Pastor was very, very good. That was 100 per cent representative.

"They were on the same fuel loads and the same programme. He'd never driven a 2014 car and power unit combination before that, so there's a huge amount more to come.

"One thing he said was that there was huge amount of switch changes to do, which of course the race drivers are used to.

"They know that every lap they're going to change a switch, and at the start of the season that was a real struggle but now it's second nature.

"So he had all that to learn, and the track. He took all that in his stride. I'm sure he's a star of the future."

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