Q&A with Ricciardo and Ocon

Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon look ahead to the coming season.

What are you most looking forward to in your second season with Renault F1 Team?
Daniel Ricciardo: I’m looking forward to blending into the team better on the back of having a full season behind us – so things are going to be easier in that sense. Once I’m in the car at pre-season testing in Barcelona, I’d imagine things will run quite smooth. I already know my engineer, what the targets are, what to work on and what the general car characteristics are like so that should mean we can hit the ground running. This all means that I can provide more immediate feedback, and therefore it’ll be easier to make those comparisons between the R.S.19 and R.S.20.

How much did you learn in your first season with Renault last year?
DR: I learnt a lot about myself and obviously a lot about the team. One of the most important learnings for me was that it’s not just about having the smartest guy in the Formula 1 paddock – you need every individual across the team getting the most out of themselves. With the people I work closest with it’s about trying to find a way they work best, trying to help them being their best selves, and then also figuring out where I can perform the best on the day. I’ve enjoyed this experience so far and building something with Renault.

How has pre-season training been for you?
DR: Winter training has been good, and I started earlier than anticipated, which is not like me because I do like to have some time off away from the sport. But after a short while recovering, I got a little restless and just wanted to start and get ready. There was something inside me that was just motivated and ready to go. In terms of my pre-season training, I’ve been alternating my routines in the gym and outdoors, and Michael, my trainer, has given me new exercises.

What goals have you set yourself for the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship?
DR: I have a few personal goals, but ultimately, I want to leave the race weekends feeling like I’ve completed the task at hand and given absolutely everything. It’s going to be important that I’ve applied my full attention and skill set, and not taken the easy route out.

Obviously, you have a new team-mate in Esteban Ocon for this season, are you looking forward to working with him?
DR: I am looking forward to work with Esteban – it’s always exciting to come into a season with a new team-mate. It’s a chance to work with a new driver and develop that chemistry together, and ultimately push each other to be the best we can be. I think Esteban will bring a positive dynamic; he’s young and hungry. He missed out a season in Formula 1, so I think he’s going to be very keen to do well.

How excited are you to be back in a full-time Formula 1 race seat?
Esteban Ocon: It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to test the new car in Barcelona. We’ve had a lot of time to prepare, and I’m feeling ready for the challenge. It was beneficial having the Abu Dhabi test in December as it meant I could get used to everyone as well as experiencing last year’s Renault F1 Team car, which is the starting point for the 2020 car. I’m really looking forward to racing again – back where I want to be – after waiting for a year. I already know some of the team, but it’s changed a lot since when I left in 2016. In Formula 1, things evolve quickly and everything at Renault has grown a lot. I think it will help me settle down quickly and be ready for the first race.

How impressed are you by the changes at Enstone?
EO: I’m very impressed. I grew up at Enstone when I was younger, and it seems a lot has changed. When I visited the factory for the first time in 2019, I couldn’t find my way around! A lot of it is new, there are more people and it’s all very good. It will give us a boost this year.

This will be your third full season in Formula 1, how much have you learnt in your 50 races so far?
EO: I was lucky to be in Formula 1 at 19 years old and have already completed a lot of races. You can always learn new things and the more you work with different teams, the more mature you become as a driver. Each race, each season, there are always things to learn. I want to keep getting better and better and I’m sure the team and Daniel will contribute a lot to that.

How much are you looking forward to working with Daniel?
EO: He seems like an easy guy to work with and I look forward to teaming up with him. It’s always good to push each other as it brings performance from the car and therefore will hopefully bring the team further up the grid. That’s what we’ll try to achieve. We want great results for the team, and we need to bring the best out from each other all while staying within the limits.

What do you know of the Renault R.S.20?
EO: There are a lot of new items on this year’s car and the guys have been working hard to find some additional performance. It’s all about details in Formula 1 and I’ve seen quite a lot of details on the Renault R.S.20. It’s exciting to see the design but the next thing you want is to be behind the wheel and feeling what it’s like.

How busy have you been during winter?
EO: I’ve been training in the Pyrenees since January 2 and it’s been flat out. I want to get as much work done on myself during the time off and make sure I’m prepared for the physical challenge in Formula 1. In between that, I will go to the factory quite a lot on the simulator and meeting staff in all the departments to see how the development of the car is going. I thought last year I would have a lot more time for training, but it wasn’t the case as I was just as busy as if I was racing, with Grand Prix attendances, simulator events and some Pirelli tests. That’s why I started my winter training early this year in order to maximise the time and bring some energy into the season.