Esteban Ocon has something that every Formula 1 driver desires: seat security.
The Frenchman signed a long term contract with Alpine that will keep him with the team until 2024, meaning that the annual rumours surrounding driver’s futures does not concern him.
Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas has also recently spoken about how much he is enjoying his driving now there is no pressure on him or rumours surrounding his future, with the Finn also tied down to a multi-year contract.
Ocon has said that he is excited for what the future holds with Alpine, who currently sit seven points clear of McLaren in fourth in the drivers’ championship, believing that the team are close to challenging higher up.
“It’s nice to finish seventh or eighth when the car is capable of being seventh or eighth, but what I want to do is win,” said the 26-year-old, who tasted victory for the first time in Hungary last year.
“I feel we are on the right path to probably breakthrough. It’s not done yet, so touch wood it will happen, but we are developing in the right way.
“For you to say there could be a breakthrough, you see that going in the right direction which feels good.”
Ocon’s teammate Fernando Alonso shocked the F1 world when he announced that he would be leaving Alpine at the end of the season to join Aston Martin, who have not been near the level of the French team, leaving the door open for Pierre Gasly to link up with his fellow countryman.
It was Alonso’s move that sparked the paddock into chaos, starting a domino effect that forced multiple teams to have to search for a replacement driver, and Ocon has admitted that it is nice to be able to relax and not be a part of the rumour mill.
“As the silly season gets sillier, it’s a great thing to be out of. You are never relaxed, but this political side is the thing I hate the most in this sport,” he said.
The Frenchman has suggested that knowing that you will be continuing with a team next year brings with it the advantage of being able to help out with the car development, with the team knowing for sure that it will be you driving the car.
“It’s definitely a big luxury to be able to build a long relationship with the team,” he explained.
“From the work I do in the simulator, I say ‘OK next year we need to have that’ and if I was not secure when I was saying that then the team probably would not make the part.
“I put a lot of effort in. I put all my life into this, every week I’m in the factory trying to help the guys, trying to develop everything that I can. Sometimes I’m even too involved!”