Ricciardo has spoken about Ocon’s past clashes, and how he hopes to have a strong partnership with him.
Esteban Ocon’s notoriousness is not new. In the three seasons that he has competed in from 2016 to 2018, he has had clashes with several drivers. The most notable ones were with Sergio Perez, his previous teammate from Force India (now Racing Point), and Max Verstappen. Although Ricciardo’s smile is well-known, he is not interested in any “fun and games”, after issuing an ultimatum to new Renault teammate Esteban Ocon.
Highlights: Ricciardo’s Ultimatum to Renault Teammate Ocon: No fun and games
- Ocon’s clashes with Force India teammate Sergio Perez.
- Ocon’s clash with Max Verstappen.
- Ricciardo: No fun and games.
Esteban Ocon’s Toxic Relationship with Sergio Perez
Esteban Ocon clashed multiple times with former teammate, Sergio Perez, during his 2-year stint at Force India. First, the pair clashed in Montreal in 2017 when Perez refused to let Ocon past him to attack for a podium finish. Second, the two made contact in Baku, and third, they collided in Belgium. As a result of all these clashes, Ocon spent one year on the sidelines in 2019 as Mercedes’ reserve driver.
Perez and Ocon never had a great relationship. Furthermore, Checo has had better relations with some other teammates. “I think he is lacking some maturity still, but I think that will come with the time,” explained Perez. Considering that Ocon has had similar incidents with other drivers too during only a three-year career in F1, one would hope that he learns from his mistakes and is lesser on the receiving end.
Things Get Dirty Between Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen
The worst of Ocon’s clashes came with Max Verstappen after Ocon caused Verstappen a race win at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Verstappen was furious after the race and shoved Ocon multiple times. When asked by Motorsport.com to explain the shoving, Verstappen explained, “I don’t really have lots to comment on that, except that he was being a p***y.” To justify his statement, he added, “I think a penalty says enough. If the stewards give him a penalty you know who was wrong in that situation.”
Although FIA punished Verstappen for his behaviour after the race, Ocon’s careless driving cannot be ignored. Ocon has had several incidents with other drivers in the past. This is exactly what worries Ricciardo ahead of their partnership at Renault this year.
Ocon and Ricciardo Give Statements Ahead of their Partnership
Knowing Ocon’s past, Ricciardo emphasized the teamwork required. There also needs to be chemistry between the two at Renault to perform well for the team. Ricciardo said, “He’s had problems with Perez, problems with Max. We, him and I, need to understand that we’re not fighting for wins yet, so for us to be tearing each other’s heads off is not the way we need to go about our business.” Ricciardo added, “I’m prepared for competition, but I’m not prepared for fun and games.”
Ricciardo knows very well what it is like to have a young competitive driver alongside him as a result of his experience with Verstappen at Red Bull. Ricciardo too acknowledged that his experience with Verstappen will help him to deal with Ocon better. “I had a bit of a taste at Red Bull when Max came in as the hot new property and me being the established guy, so it’s not new to me,” he explained.
After Ocon’s one-year absence from the sport, he seems like a completely new individual. Speaking to Autosport, Ocon said, “What happened in Force India is not something I want to re-do again. He added, “Definitely the atmosphere is a lot better between me and Daniel than it was with Checo.” For Ocon’s own sake, maintaining a positive relationship with his new teammate is crucial. Ocon will be mindful of avoiding a snub by yet another team for causing troubles.
Hopefully, for Ricciardo’s ultimatum and Renault’s fate, Ocon’s one-year absence would have helped learn from his mistakes. Consequently, he will not cause any more troubles, especially with his teammate. Ocon himself would want to change his ‘bad boy’ image and also impress his new team.