EstebanOcon is a talented French racing driver and two-time champion in international single-seater championships who made a debut in Formula One in 2016. Before he entered the premium open-wheel racing competition, Ocon was the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship winner and 2015 GP3 Series champion.
Ocon began his career in karting
Esteban Ocon was born on September 17, 1996, in Evreux, the town in Upper Normandy. When he was a 10-year-old, Ocon began to drive karting and in 2007 he won the title in the French Minime Championship. Next year, he became a French Cadet champion and he was ready for the international stage.
Esteban Ocon, driving in KF3 category
In 2009, Esteban started to compete in the karting KF3 class and until 2011 he won the French KF3 title and was the vice-champion in the WSK Euro Series.
Move to Formula Renault
Formula Renault 2.0 was the next station in Esteban’s career. Driving in Eurocup for Koiranen Motorsport Esteban finished fourteenth with four point-scoring finishes, also including a podium at his home round at Le Castellet. He also raced in Formula Renault 2.0 Alps Series. He finished seventh with two podiums.
Esteban Ocon, ART Grand Prix, Formula Renault
Esteban stayed in Formula Renault Eurocup in 2013 but this time as a member of ART Junior Team. The progress was big since Ocon won 2 out of 14 races and had other three podiums, eventually taking the 3rd place in the championship, behind Pierre Gasly and Oliver Rowland. Talented Frenchman also raced in eight races of Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, winning one race and having a total of three finishes.
Formula 3 champion in 2014
Ocon moved to European Formula 3 Championship in 2014. Driving for Prema Powerteam he won the title in the first attempt, winning 9 out of 33 races and having other 12 podiums. He finished the season 58 points ahead of the runner-up Tom Blomqvist and 67 ahead of third-placed Max Verstappen.
Ocon was 2014 Formula 3 champion
The same year he appeared in three races of Formula Renault 3.5 Series and picked two points in his first race. It is important to mention the fact that Esteban got an opportunity to drive for Lotus F1 team in November. His talent was spotted by Mercedes and they decided to sign Ocon for their Formula 1 junior program.
Esteban won 2015 GP3 Series title
The stream of successes has continued in 2015 in which Esteban competed in GP3 Series, driving for ART Grand Prix. Ocon won the title and even though he has won only one out of 18 races, he had a total of 13 podium finishes, establishing himself as a reliable and fast driver.
Another interesting fact from that season is that Ocon scored nine consecutive 2nd places. Parallel to his GP3 Series duties, Ocon stayed in Formula 1, acting as a Force India’s test driver.
Esteban Ocon, 2015 GP3 Series champion at Monza
Short spell in DTM and F1 debut
Mercedes wanted to keep Ocon sharp and in 2016 sent him to the DTM series where he replaced the reigning champion Pascal Wehrlein who is also Mercedes’ protege and who got a chance to drive for Manor in Formula 1 World Championship.
At the same time, Esteban was Renault F1 Team’s test and a reserve pilot.
Ocon spent half of the season in DTM driving for Mercedes
Formula One debut with Manor
Ocon could hardly settle in DTM and the results were relatively poor as he managed to pick points in only one out of 10 races. A bit surprisingly, Mercedes secured him a drive in 2016 Formula 1 World Championship.
He got the seat in Manor, where he replaced Rio Haryanto from the 13th round. It was the Belgian Grand Prix in which he finished 16th. In nine starts with Manor, Ocon's best result was 12th place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Esteban Ocon debuted in Formula 1 with Manor team
Full-time Formula One drive with Force India
Esteban’s talent and Mercedes' connections secured him a full-time seat for the 2017 Formula One season. He signed for Force India to drive the #31 VJM-10 (Mercedes). Ocon became point scorer from his first race with Force India, continuing to finish among top 10 drivers in almost every race (18 of 20). His best result was the fifth place in Spain and Mexico. At the end of the season, he was eighth in the points.
He stayed in the #31 car in 2018, continuing to score points in most of his races.