A soft-spoken and affable character away from the action, Ocon has built up a rather different reputation among his peers once he gets down to business.

The 27-year-old is known for his straightforward, no-nonsense and no-compromise attitude, whether he is dealing with team-mates, team bosses or his battling his rivals.

Having now entered his eighth season, that approach has helped him make it to F1 and then survive in his dog-eat-dog world. Speaking at length in the April issue of GP RacingOcon has explained how his family’s sacrifices for him to reach F1 formed his attitude.

Ocon’s family sold their house to fund his go-kart career, living on the road as they amassed 30,000km per year traveling with their son to karting events all over Europe in a caravan.

“We changed two gearboxes during that time. I think we changed three sets of tires on the caravan – because we were carrying all the karting equipment with us, the wear was so bad,” he recounted.

“A funny story: we got stopped by the police once and they weighed the caravan and the van – and said, ‘We have a problem here. You are two and a half tons too heavy.’

“They wanted to give us a huge fine, so we tried to explain that this is our life, this is what we’re trying to do. And they understood and let us go.

“That was, yeah… a bit on the extreme side. But my dad was so sure I had something that there was no way it could go unnoticed.”

Esteban Ocon during his title-winning European F3 campaign in 2014

Ocon believes that formative experience still forms the backbone of his tenacity in F1, which was on display as he went up against Sergio Perez at Racing Point or Fernando Alonso at Alpine.

“Yeah, I think it’s a fair assessment. And that’s why maybe not everyone will like me, at first,” he said.

“But when there’s something that has to be said, especially in Formula 1, it has to be said. We have no time to waste here, so it’s important to be simple.

“Maybe I’m too straightforward at times, but well… I’m not going to let anything go after I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. I don’t want to get eaten alive by anyone, be it some team manager, team principal, or a world champion.”

“I had the weight of my family on my shoulders from a very young age. And I’m not saying it to seek pity: it was worth trying and we succeeded to end up where we wanted to be – and now everything is good.

“But it’s clear that I had to deal with these sorts of pressures, I had to be tough when it mattered, and I had to be heard when people weren’t necessarily listening, or weren’t convinced.”



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