Few talents can be held responsible for the emotions and the expectations that Esteban Ocon elicits. The young Frenchman’s Formula One appearances may be numbering in the single digits, but there is little doubt over the skills of the latest Force India recruit.
Having started karting at the age of four, Esteban claimed the first major piece of silverware in 2007 – the French Minime Championship. The winning streak continued in 2008, as the young Norman won the French Cadet Championship, the final accolade before making the jump to international racing. A French KF3 title and second place in the WSK Euro Series followed, marking the end of a successful karting career for him.
The switch to single-seaters saw Esteban balance Eurocup and Alps Formula Renault 2.0 campaigns in 2012, claiming podiums in both, before a switch to ART Junior Team for 2013 resulted in third place in the Eurocup standings.
Following a first appearance in the famous Macau Grand Prix, the Frenchman made the jump to Formula 3 in 2014. Racing for Prema Powerteam, the season proved a huge success, Ocon winning the title with a round to spare after leading the standings for the entire campaign. Signed up to the Mercedes AMG F1 junior programme, the year saw Esteban also get his first taste of Formula One, taking part in Free Practice with Lotus at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Continuing his lightning-quick progression in the sport, 2015 brought a promotion to the GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix: against a strong field, Esteban claimed one win on the way to the championship. The talented youngster was also introduced to Sahara Force India for the first time, driving in the Barcelona in-season test and impressing with his professional attitude and natural speed.
The 2016 season initially seemed to be one of transition for Esteban, who switched to the challenge of DTM as part of his Mercedes affiliation. However, halfway through the season, the big break came in the form of a call-up to Manor to compete in the remainder of the Formula One season. Despite an uncompetitive car he had never tried before, the Frenchman showed moments of class, nearly scoring his debut points in the rain-affected Brazilian Grand Prix.
The move to Sahara Force India as part of a multi-year contract marks the next step in Esteban Ocon’s career. Stepping into a competitive team will allow him to display his innate class, contributing to the growth of the team and allowing him to fight at the sharp end of the field.