Former Mercedes reserve, test and simulator driver Esteban Ocon says Mercedes agreed he could bring some of the team’s inside information to Renault.
Although Ocon signed with Renault for 2020, he is still being managed by Mercedes. As Toto Wolff explained it, he is “a cousin of the Mercedes family today”.
Being so closely involved with Mercedes gave Ocon a lot of opportunities to learn from the team and now he says some of that knowledge will be brought to Renault.
“I come out of there a lot stronger than I was, with a lot more knowledge on the technical side, but also on the other aspects of the organisation, the way they see things in different conditions, the way they just behave in any situation,” said the French driver.
“I had an eye on all of that, which is completely different than even if I was driving, you know? So, definitely it has helped me.
“Of course, this year I was trying to give, to some extent, some of that – you have to be professional always, not give all the secrets, because the engineers, they all have to be a year out before coming back to another team, it’s not the case for a driver.
“But I still take a lot of things. Within limits, I took stuff here [to Renault], which both teams agreed.
“And yeah, so far it’s been good, I was very much involved in the development of this year’s car.
“So, now it’s exciting times, because – you didn’t see it much here [at the launch], but it is pretty different. The guys at the factory, they say it’s probably the biggest step for three or four years.
Ocon say the French team’s operation is still not as big as Mercedes’, but they are making strides forward.
“It’s still not as big, that’s for sure.
“But the amount of effort that’s been put into the development of the team since 2016 – I mean, when I came in [to the Enstone factory], I was lost at the entrance.
“I’ve gone left, normally there were stairs going down, and now there was a full new room, full of designers and everything.
“These new machines, new rooms, new computers – well, everywhere you look is new,” concluded the French driver.