Jack Doohan was given a crash warning by Esteban Ocon before FP1 debut

Jon Wilde
Alpine's Jack Doohan racing for UNI-Virtuosi in Formula 2. Imola, May 2022.

Alpine's Jack Doohan racing for UNI-Virtuosi in Formula 2. Imola, May 2022.

Jack Doohan has explained how a chat with Esteban Ocon convinced him to be cautious on his FP1 debut for Alpine in Mexico.

The Australian driver was called up by Alpine to fulfil their FP1 rookie driver requirement, and is due to complete the two races at which that must occur in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In wanting to maximise his contribution to the team at the Mexican Grand Prix while Ocon temporarily stepped aside, Doohan spoke to both the Frenchman and his team-mate, Fernando Alonso.

Ocon was quick to serve a reminder, which was also something of a warning, that on a previous occasion when he had given up his car for a test driver at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, they had ended up in the wall.

Although Doohan did not name names, the incident occurred when Ocon was racing for Force India in 2017 and the unfortunate individual was Alfonso Celis – for whom it was the ninth and last free practice appearance.

“On Thursday morning I went into Fernando’s driver room and was just like ‘what do you reckon, how many laps are you going to do at the start when the track’s greasy, going fast-slow-fast, and the inside kerbs, with the cars obviously being a lot lower now at the rear’,” recalled the 19-year-old on the F1 Nation podcast.

“Me and Esteban [also] had a little bit of a chat about kerb usage and whatnot and he was like ‘do not take anything – the last time I gave my car up someone crashed here in Mexico, Turn 13, the tyres overheated’.

“I was like ‘I’m not even using exit kerbs’. I was exiting the last turn like five metres from the exit wall, just being super-cautious.

“Unfortunately, we had a PU issue at the end of the first run which halted our running.”

Doohan is, of course, the son of five-time consecutive 500cc motorcycle champion Mick Doohan – and revealed what his famous father had told him before his first time mixing it with the four-wheeled elite at a grand prix weekend.

“I think the main thing he was trying to, you could say, drill into me was to enjoy it,” said Doohan jnr.

“Because it’s obviously a big thing and being a young driver getting the opportunity in FP1 and there’s obviously a lot of eyes on you.

“He was just making sure I was enjoying the process, not putting too much pressure [on], not trying to over-exaggerate anything.

“For me, the nerves weren’t actually so bad when I hopped in the car. My heart was racing for sure because I had the time on my dash and it was like ‘in two minutes I’m exiting the pit lane for an FP1 session, this is quite crazy’.

“I was really looking forward to it, but not scared or in that sort of way.”

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