Esteban Ocon is a French racing driver currently racing for Renault F1 Team in Formula One. Since Renault has rebranded to Alpine to promote its sports cars, Ocon will be racing for the Alpine F1 Team. Ocon made his debut in Formula One racing for Manor Racing in the Belgian Grand Prix in 2016.
Esteban Ocon was born on 17 September 1996, to Sabrine Khelfane and Laurent Ocon in Évreux, Normandy, France. Before his signing with Renault, Ocon was a part of the Mercedes-Benz driver development programme. He earned his first podium in Formula One while driving for Renault at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when he finished second.
Esteban Ocon’s Career Before Formula 1
Although Esteban Ocon started karting at an early age supported by his mechanic father, he entered his first race national competition in 2006. He finished eighth in the 2006 French Minime Championship and won the championship in 2007. In 2008, Ocon competed in the cadet category and won the French Cadet Championship.
Ocon started competing in KF3 Kart Racing in 2009. He raced in the category winning the French KF3 Championship in 2011. That year, Ocon also finished runner-up in the 2011 WSK Euro Series. Noting Ocon’s success in karting, Gravity Sports management, a sister concern of the Renault F1 Team signed him at the age of 14.
Formula Renault (2012-2014)
In 2012, Kioranen Motorsport gave Ocon to race in single-seaters cars. In his first entry in the Eurocup Renault Formula 2.0, Ocon’s finished Renault earned his first podium finish at his home ground at Le Castellet. He finished the competition in fourteenth place with four point-scoring finishes.
He also competed in a part of the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps with Kioranen and finished seventh and earned two podium positions at the Red Bull Ring. Driving for the ART Junior Team in 2013, Ocon took three podiums including his first victory at Le Castellet. He also drove for Comtec Racing in World Series in Renault 3.5, scoring two points in his first race at the Hungaroring.
Formula 3, GP3 and DTM (2014-2015)
Ocon first competed in Formula 3 with Prema Racing in the Macau Grand Prix. Thereafter, still driving for Prema Racing, Ocon contested in the FIA European Formula Three Championship. Hook a lead in the first round at Silverstone and won the Championship with one round still to go. He took 21 podium places including 9 victories in the championship.
In 2015, Ocon decided to compare in the GP3 Series with the ART Junior Team. He won his first race in Catalunya. Thereafter, he secured podium positions in every race in the series except three retirements and one disqualification. He won the series with only one victory and bettering his challenger, Luca Ghiotto’s score by eight points.
Mercedes recruited Estaban Ocon’s services to drive for them in the 2016 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Season. Ocon raced for the in the first six rounds of the season. He also served as a reserve driver for Renault Sport F1 till his transfer to Manor Racing.
Esteban Ocon’s Career In Formula 1
In October 2014 Esteban Ocon had test-driven a Formula One car for the Lotus F1 Team for two days. Later, in November, Lotus invited him to make his debut on a race weekend Grand Prix debut in the first practice session in Abu Dhabi. In 2015, Force India called upon Ocon to test drive at after the race in Barcelona due to the withdrawal of one of their drivers.
When Ocon was racing in the 2015 GP3, the Mercedes F1 Team had signed up Ocon in the Mercedes driver development programme. Renault appointed him as a reserve driver for the Renault F1 Team during the 2016 season in February 2016. Ocon participated in four FP1 sessions for the team.
Ocon made his debut for the Manor Racing Team in the Belgian Grand Prix replacing Rio Haryanto. Partnering Pascal Wehrlein, Ocon finished 16th in the race. It was in the Brazilian Grand Prix of the 2016 season that he got his best results. He finished 12th in the race dropping out of the top ten on the final lap.
Force India (2017-2018)
Force India confirmed that they had signed Ocon for the 2017 season in November 2016 apart of his on-going contract with Mercedes. With Sergio Pérez as his partner, Ocon scored his first World Championship points in the inaugural race, the Australian Grand Prix, finishing 10th. He had 10th place finishes in the first three races of the season.
In the Russian Grand Prix Ocon finished 7th and did even better in Spain finishing 5th. After the Austrian Grand Prix, Ocon stood 8th in the drivers’ rankings. After a 9th place finishes in Belgian, he had a collision with Sergio Pérez, ending his partner’s race. His run of 27 consecutive races ended with an accident in Brazil in the first lap. Ocon finished eighth in the 2017 season.
In the 2018 season, Ocon scored his first point in the Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing in 10th place. A first-lap collision with Kimi Räikkönen ended his race in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Although Ocon retired in the Spanish Grand Prix with an oil leak, he earned fifth and ninth place finishes in Monaco and Canada. He again had a first-lap collision in France and was forced to retire.
Force India had financial problems during the summer break and was put into administration. A consortium led by Lawrence Stroll purchased Force India. Amid speculation that Lance Stroll, Lawrence Stroll’s son would replace Ocon, the consortium announced that they would retain the same two drivers. Ocon promptly qualified 3rd and finished second in the race in Belgium.
Following a sixth-place finish in Italy, Ocon and Perez collided in Singapore ending their races. Ocon’s eight-place finish in the USA was disqualified for exceeding fuel flow limits. A collision in Brasil with Max Verstappen, the race leader who was trying to lap Ocon, and a reprimand from the FIA later, Ocon finished the season in the 12th place.
Mercedes, Reserve Driver (2019)
At the end of 2018, Force India was renamed as Racing Point and Ocon was replaced by Lance Stroll. Even though Ocon had a formal agreement with Renault for the 2019 season, Renault signed on Daniel Ricciardo, putting Ocon’s future in Formula One racing in jeopardy. In November 2018, Mercedes announced that Ocon would be their reserve driver in 2019.
Though Ocon was on standby, he could not race during a race weekend during the 2019 season. He was due to replace Valtteri Bottas and race alongside Lewis Hamilton. However, Mercedes chose to continue with Valtteri Bottas for the 2020 season.
In August 2019, Renault announced that Esteban Ocon will race for them in the 2020 Formula One season. Ocon was to partner Daniel Ricciardo and replace Nico Hülkenberg. Ocon secured the only podium Position of his Formula One career finishing second at the Sakhir Grand Prix. He finished the championship in 12th place.
Renault has announced that they will rebrand as Alpine for the 2021 season in order to promote their sports cars. As Ocon had a two-year contract with Renault, he will drive for the Alpine F1 Team in 2021. He will partner Fernando Alonso and will replace Daniel Ricciardo who moves to McLaren.