Ocon 'ready for the challenge' at Renault after a 'demanding' year at Mercedes

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Esteban Ocon says he is "ready for the challenge" at Renault as he makes his Formula 1 return in 2020.

The Frenchman is back on the grid for the first time since being ousted by Lance Stroll at Racing Point at the end of 2018.

In the meantime, Ocon spent last year as the third driver at Mercedes but explained how the program he undertook proved much more tiring than perhaps expected.

"I mean, the season I had was very very demanding," Ocon said.

"I was not sleeping for two days [at a time], it was quite crazy - the amount of travel I was doing, and the amount of hours I was doing in the simulator and then travelling to track, doing stuff for Mercedes.

"They used me well, but a lot.

"So when I arrived, to be honest, after testing in Abu Dhabi at my training camp, [I was] the lightest I've ever been.

"I was destroyed basically, from the year."

Ocon was considered to replace Valtteri Bottas before his move to Renault was agreed on a two-year deal starting from this season.

However, for the 23-year-old, it is more a reunion having worked with the team before in 2016.

"I’m very impressed. I grew up at Enstone when I was younger and it seems a lot has changed," he said.

"When I visited the factory for the first time in 2019, I couldn’t find my way around! A lot of it is new, there are more people and it’s all very good. It will give us a boost this year."

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And despite what could be a little ring-rust, having not raced in over a year, Ocon is confident he can once again prove himself as one of F1's top youngsters.

"It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to test the new car in Barcelona. We’ve had a lot of time to prepare and I’m feeling ready for the challenge," he declared.

"It was beneficial having the Abu Dhabi test in December as it meant I could get used to everyone as well as experiencing last year’s Renault F1 Team car, which is the starting point for the 2020 car.

"I’m really looking forward to racing again – back where I want to be – after waiting for a year. I already know some of the team, but it’s changed a lot since when I left in 2016.

"In Formula 1, things evolve quickly and everything at Renault has grown a lot. I think it will help me settle down quickly and be ready for the first race."