Lotus junior driver and this year’s FIA European F3 Champion Esteban Ocon completed his 2nd Formula One test this week.
Ocon tested the Ferrari F10 at Fiorano on Wednesday, with the Prema Powerteam racer impressing the Luca Baldisserri – head of the Ferrari Driver Academy programme.
Following the conclusion of the session, Baldisserri commented, “Despite it being his first time in one of our cars, he tackled the test without making any mistakes and was quick right from the start.”
Baldisserri added, “It’s always very exciting for we engineers to be there when a young driver gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car for the first time, because even if we are used to working with rookies, it’s a real surprise to see someone to take to the track, showing a level of professionalism as demonstrated by Esteban.”
Having tested with Lotus recently, the French teenager received the Ferrari test as part of a prize package for winning the prestigious F3 championship this year. Afterward Ocon was appreciative of the F10 and the Fiorano circuit. “The track is very nice, very technical and varied and the car provides plenty of excitement with all its power and the way it responds immediately to driver input.”
Beyond the purely technical aspects of the test, Baldisserri – a former Formula One race engineer and strategist – was quick to appreciate the feelings that can surface in young drivers when they drive a Ferrari for the first time. “It’s not an easy task, especially on an emotional level, because I reckon that driving a Ferrari is a dream for anyone who wants to be a professional racing driver and we hope that today’s good results are a good sign for his future.”
“It was great to walk around the premises of a great company like Ferrari,” said the new F3 title holder. “Only by being here can you get an idea of how much history and tradition you can sense from the place. I am very honoured to have had this opportunity.”
Ocon’s recent test in the Lotus E20 was also a significant one. The Frenchman impressed the team with his maturity, saying that: “I was focused on my job and what I had to do. I didn’t think things like ‘I’m driving an F1 car!’ or stressing about it. No, I was concentrating on the information my engineer was giving me and to keep doing what he said.
“It is very different and the procedures are a lot more complex. The team explained everything to me very well and made me feel very comfortable with everything. It all went perfectly and I got used to it very quickly.”
The 18-year-old heads the charge to Macau in two weeks time as he aims to add the F3 Grand Prix to his list of accolades.