Esteban Ocon tells why he took public transport back to the pits after Singapore DNF

Jon Wilde
Esteban Ocon looks intensely at Alpine engineer. Hungaroring July 2022.

Esteban Ocon has related the story of how he took the public metro back to the pits in full race gear after his retirement from the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Alpine driver was forced to pull over with a power-unit failure in his car on lap 28 at Marina Bay, seven laps after his team-mate Fernando Alonso had suffered a similar fate.

The problem was that at Turn 13, just after crossing the Anderson Bridge, Ocon’s incident had occurred at the remotest part of the track in relation to the paddock.

Being a street circuit, it meant the options were limited for Ocon to get himself back to the pits – and so he decided public transport would be his best bet.

Still with his crash helmet on, the Frenchman, accompanied by a marshal, headed underground and was pictured entering a station at the CityLink Mall on the MRT system.

Ocon discussed the episode with a surprised and amused Ted Kravitz of Sky F1 at an Alpine corporate event in the build-up to the Japanese Grand Prix – although he did not say how he had paid his fare!

“It’s good that we are going racing again because it wasn’t the smoothest Singapore [Grand Prix] we were hoping for,” said Ocon, who had been making good progress through the field after starting down in 17th due to brake problems in qualifying.

“The car was performing extremely well but for various reasons we didn’t put it together, and obviously the DNF in the race.”

With the race start delayed by 65 minutes as the track dried out following a heavy downpour, Kravitz asked Ocon if he had switched to slick tyres before his retirement.

“I stayed on inters,” said the 26-year-old. “About 10 laps later they went to slicks – when I was taking the subway! There are some pictures on the internet.

“When I DNF’d, to join back the track, because it’s in town, the furthest point away, I went in the subway.”

With your helmet on, asked Kravitz. “Yeah, underground” he replied. “I went with a marshal and it took me 25 minutes.”

Quizzed about the reaction from the public who had seen him take that unusual route, Ocon suggested: “Who’s this weird…why is he sweaty?”

Rain fell again during Friday practice for the Japanese Grand Prix and after finishing fourth quickest behind team-mate Alonso who went fastest in FP1, Ocon was ninth on the timesheet at the end of FP2.

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