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Esteban Ocon

Formula 1 driver

Esteban Ocon
Credit: Alastair Staley/Lotus F1
Vital statistics for Esteban Ocon
BirthplaceNormandy, France
Born17 September 1996
F1 debutBelgian Grand Prix, 2016
Driver number31
Current teamSahara Force India F1 Team

Esteban Ocon finds himself in great demand from two teams - Renault and Mercedes. Initially in the Lotus young driver programme, Ocon joined the Mercedes development programme instead. From a combination of both links, he has experience as a test driver for Renault, Mercedes and Force India, half a season of racing at Manor and a deal for 2017 with the Force India team for a full season of racing.

F1 biography

Ocon started his motorsport career with the traditional karting championships, winning in France before taking on more international competitions. He moved into single seater racing in 2012, participating in the Formula Renault series, in several of its variations. He was a strong contender, finshing on the podium in his first season, and adding more trophies as he continued.

In 2014, Ocon moved to the Formula Three series, winning the championship at his first attempt. He also participated in a handful of Renault 3.5 events and impressed in those as well. As part of the Lotus young driver initiative, Ocon was given the chance to test with the F1 team, and drove in Friday practice at Abu Dhabi in the last round of the 2014 season. He also drove alongside fellow countryman Romain Grosjean in the Race of Champions at the end of the year.

For the 2015 motorsport year, Ocon participated in the GP3 series for ART, winning the championship at his first attempt. He was also a test driver for the Force India F1 team, and switched to the Mercedes young driver programme rather than sticking with the Lotus outfit. However, when Renault rebranded ahead of the 2016 season, they wanted their French driver back and Mercedes agreed to loan Esteban Ocon back to the Enstone squad as reserve driver.

Out of the blue, midway through the 2016 season, Esteban got the call to join the Manor squad, replacing the outgoing Rio Haryanto. Rio had run out of funding, and Manor's engine supply deal with Mercedes meant the German team were able to find a race seat for their young driver. Ocon completed nine races with Manor, outperforming his highly rated teammate Pascal Wehrlein. Ahead of the 2017 season, it was confirmed that Ocon would join Force India for a full season of racing, again beating Pascal Wehrlein to the seat he had been considered for.