After what has been an excruciatingly long wait for the Frenchman, Esteban Ocon will make his home grand prix return this weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard for the FORMULA 1 EMIRATES GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE 2021.
A French driver racing for a French manufacturer at the French Grand Prix, magnifique!
Extra motivation for Esteban Ocon
For home-race hero Esteban Ocon, there is added motivation heading into the weekend, as he wasn’t racing in F1 the last time the paddock visited France – 2019.
“It feels like so long ago since I lined up for my home Grand Prix in France, so I’m very much ready and looking forward to doing that once again this weekend. Obviously, I wasn’t racing in 2019 and, last year, there wasn’t a French Grand Prix, so I definitely have extra motivation and energy coming into this race. I think everyone in the team is desperate for a good race on home soil, and we’ll be working hard to do just that. It’s the south of France, nice weather, fans in the grandstands and the fastest cars in the world…I can’t wait!” said Ocon.
France a happy hunting ground for Fernando Alonso
France has been a happy hunting ground for two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso over the years, however, the Spaniard has only raced at Paul Ricard once in F1.
“I always enjoy racing in France. I’ve had some good results in Formula 1 and in other motorsport categories in this country, but Circuit Paul Ricard is actually a track I don’t know so well as I’ve only raced here once in Formula 1. The track has been resurfaced with some small tweaks to help improve the racing, so we’ll assess that early in the weekend. The circuit has quite a few high-speed sections and Turn 10 will be fun in these modern Formula 1 cars. There are quite a few runoff areas around the circuit which means any mistakes are less likely to punished by barriers either side of you. This will be different to what we experienced at both Monaco and Baku and hopefully we can put on a show for the fans,” added Alonso.
Home cooking welcome for Alpine F1 Team
For Marcin Budkowski, the opportunity for the team to race in front of their own fans is a special one, especially after the one year hiatus due to the pandemic.
“A home race for every team is special. Alpine is a French brand with its headquarters in France, while the Formula 1 Team is primarily based in the UK, so we could even say we have two home races! It’s a pleasure to represent Alpine on France soil, especially in such a beautiful region, but there is also added attention on the team. There are more fans supporting us in the grandstands, VIPs and executives from the Renault Group and therefore the extra pressure to perform. Once the race weekend starts, though, every individual is focused on getting the most out of the car, the drivers and the whole Team as we do at every race,” concluded Budkowski.