Esteban Ocon enjoys ‘exceptional’ F1 test for Lotus


French youngster Esteban Ocon has enjoyed an ‘exceptional’ first Formula 1 test for Lotus F1 Team as a reward for winning the FIA F3 European Championship in 2014.

Ocon, 18, won the title ahead of Britain’s Tom Blomqvist and Dutch racer Max Verstappen, who has been fast-tracked into F1 for 2015 with Toro Rosso.

Not wishing to be overshadowed by his rival, Ocon enjoyed a very impressive two-day test for Lotus using the two-year-old E20 car in Valencia, Spain.

“The test driving the Lotus F1 Team E20 went really well,” Ocon said. “I had to adapt to the car quite rapidly which I did very well. I felt comfortable with the team straight away and the same with the E20.

“The word I’d use to describe the feeling of driving an F1 car is that it is just quicker. The car was easy to drive, stable and very enjoyable; it is a great car.

“I’m really happy with this two-day test and I hope to the get the opportunity to jump into the F1 car again soon.”

Ocon’s performance won praise from team trackside operations director Alan Permane, who said that his next test won’t be too far away.

“Esteban drove exceptionally well over the course of the last two days, completing every task we asked of him,” he said. “It’s clear he has a lot of talent as he was quickly up to speed and looked comfortable in the car.

“His feedback and aptitude were very promising. I’m sure we will see him in an F1 car again before too long.”

Sauber was also testing in Valencia over the same two-day period, splitting its running between Adderly Fong and Roy Nissany.

“I am very happy that I had the opportunity to test the Sauber C31,” Fong said. “I have achieved my objective to complete 300 km without making any mistakes and at a good speed.

“The car was fantastic to drive, it is a brilliant piece of machinery. With so much horse power and high down force, it is a difficult car to learn, but I was able to improve lap by lap.”

All three drivers completed enough running to get an FIA superlicence required to race in Formula 1.