Esteban Ocon laid bare the speed of advancement in Formula 1, detailing the challenges of getting used to Renault after a year out of regular F1 action.
Ocon will return to the grid in 2020 with Renault and got his hands on the French squad’s car for the first time on Tuesday at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi.
The Frenchman logged 77 laps in total as he tries to sharpen the senses ahead of a racing return, having spent 2019 as Mercedes‘ third driver, with mostly development duties.
“I was so excited. I’ve been waiting for that day for months and finally it happened,” Ocon said.
“I have a good first impression. The team gave me a very warm welcome, which is always very satisfying, seeing some old faces, some new faces as well, which is great.
“Now we properly started to work on all the little details. Towards the afternoon I started to get closer and closer to the limit. So it feels nice.”
Despite having previously driven with the class-leading Mercedes engine in 2018, Ocon said he noticed a step-up with Renault’s 2019 unit.
“It feels good. Obviously there’s always a lot that you can improve,” he said of the R.S. 19.
“But the engine is also something new for me since a couple of years. Good power. Then, of course, the balance, you need to always work on it, it’s never perfect until you get the touch on it. I think we have a solid base that we can continue.”