Ocon sends out confident message

10 February 2021 23:28:13 GMTPlus10

Esteban Ocon says the renamed Alpine team can rely on him to do a good job this year after scoring his first F1 podium finish when they were known as Renault last season.

Seen as a fast-rising youngster to watch when he won the Formula Three European Championship in 2014 and the F3 crown in 2015, the Frenchman got his first F1 drive with Manor Racing in 2016.

Signed to a long-term contract with Mercedes, Ocon finished eighth in the world championship with Force India in 2017 but was 12th the following year and 12th again after moving to Renault last season.

It's clear, I hope, that now the team can truly say they rely on me in tough moments.

Esteban Ocon

Having the rapid Daniel Ricciardo as a team-mate could make most drivers look bad but Ocon managed three top-six finishes in 2020, including second place to Sergio Perez in the dramatic Sakhir Grand Prix in December.

He may be in for more tough comparisons this season, as Alpine have replaced Ricciardo, now with McLaren, with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, one of the best drivers of his generation,

But Ocon says he does not feel the pressure of living up to expectations and is looking forward to the challenge, even with team boss Cyril Abiteboul having left his role over the winter break.

"I didn't feel the pressure of having to make a result or having to have an incredible race," he said.

"It's clear, I hope, that now the team can truly say they rely on me in tough moments and if we are in difficult moments, I can be strong in the race and do a good job.

"Cyril, even in the tough moments, was very supportive of me, very positive and always giving me good advice."

Ocon is 1001.00 for the world championship with Alonso an 1001.00 chance.

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