Immediate Esteban Ocon results surprised Force India Formula 1 team

The immediacy of Mercedes Formula 1 junior Esteban Ocon's results has surprised his Force India team, according to its chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer

Immediate Esteban Ocon results surprised Force India Formula 1 team

Ocon only made his F1 debut in last season's Belgian Grand Prix, when Mercedes parachuted him into Manor to replace Rio Haryanto.

He scored a point on his Force India debut in Australia, the first of five straight top-10 finishes before a puncture in Monaco ended that run.

Ocon bounced back with a career-best sixth in Canada, which he matched in Azerbaijan despite colliding with team-mate Sergio Perez and costing Force India a possible podium.

His eighth-place finish in Austria cemented eighth in the championship, and Szafnauer admitted Ocon was probably exceeding the team's expectations for the first part of the season.

"Are we surprised? Maybe pleasantly surprised but not completely," said Szafnauer.

"We chose him because we thought he had the capability of doing this.

"Maybe the surprise is that it's happened straight away.

"He's quickly learned and he's quickly fitted into the team very well, but there's still more to come."

Ocon's results this season have helped put Force India a clear fourth in the constructors' championship, 49 clear of Williams.

Szafnauer admitted the team knew it would be "in trouble" in the midfield battle if both drivers were not scoring points.

"He's been very consistent and that's exactly what we wanted," he said. "We knew in the midfield we need two drivers to consistently score points.

"Thanks to Esteban and his engineering team we're doing that.

"He's getting better and better. He's learning the team too, not just the tracks, how we work, and that's important."

Although Ocon has raced at ciruits such as Barcelona and the Red Bull Ring before in junior categories, his half-season in F1 last year means he will not return to the tracks he has F1 race experience on until after the summer break.

The 20-year-old is expecting that to help him achieve more, especially as he will be revisiting those circuits as a more experienced driver.

"When you get to a track you know already it makes a big difference," Ocon told Autosport. "You build your weekend in a totally different way.

"I saw in Barcelona I had a great pace and that was where one of my best results was, and [in Austria] I already knew the track and I felt more comfortable.

"I hope it will make a difference, I'm taking more experience as well, so I think it will."

shares
comments
London Formula 1 street demonstration to happen on Wednesday
Previous article

London Formula 1 street demonstration to happen on Wednesday

Next article

Silverstone triggers British Grand Prix F1 contract break clause

Silverstone triggers British Grand Prix F1 contract break clause
Load comments
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021