Esteban Ocon is not a fan of the “political” side of Formula 1 and described it as the element he hates the most in the sport.
The Frenchman is in the rare position of being in possession of a long-term contract, with his Alpine deal set to expire at the end of 2024.
This means that while the ‘silly season’ was going on, nowhere more so than at his own team, Ocon could watch on.
His current team-mate, Fernando Alonso, sparked a series of driver moves that saw the Spaniard move to Aston Martin, Oscar Piastri reject an Alpine deal before moving to McLaren, Pierre Gasly take his place and Nyck de Vries be given his F1 chance at AlphaTauri.
Ocon has been enjoying the benefits that come with a multi-year deal and described the “political” side of Formula 1 as the “thing I hate most in this sport.”
“It’s definitely a big luxury to have to be able to build a long relationship with the team,” he told The Race. “From the work I do 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.
“And as the silly season that gets sillier, it’s a great thing to be out of. You are never relaxed, but this political side is the thing I hate most in this sport.”
It appears to be an exciting time at Alpine with the current car challenging for P4 and the team aiming to go even further than that. Ocon has said as much, sensing that they are on the right path to breakthrough.
“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 to win,” the 26-year-old said.
“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.
“I put a lot of effort in. I put all my life to 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! So that’s how much energy I put into this.
“For you to say that there could be a breakthrough, you see that going in the right direction, which feels good.”
Ocon is currently P8 in the Drivers’ standings, 11 points ahead of his team-mate Alonso.