Ocon feels at a 'competitive' level ahead of F1 return

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After a year off the grid, Esteban Ocon feels at a "competitive" level of fitness and performance ahead of his Formula 1 return.

Last year, the former Force India driver spent his season as the reserve at Mercedes, though a hectic schedule of simulator sessions and travelling left him "destroyed" by the end of it.

However, Ocon's on track running was limited to a Pirelli tyre test at Paul Ricard, so it might be expected his sharpness in the car wasn't as good as at the end of 2018.

“I’m not too far off what I feel is a decent level for me," the Frenchman claimed via Crash.net.

"Of course, I’m going to have the next three days to continue that but I feel good in the car, I feel competitive, of course, there’s things we can do better but I’m already at a good level where I am now."

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A crucial part of Ocon's preparation was getting the chance to reacquaint himself at Renault during the two-day post-seasn testing in Abu Dhabi last December. 

“It’s just another step to be even more ready for here, to be even more ready for Australia, it’s so short the days we have," he explained.

“I’m still very fresh and I don’t remember being like that in the past as it was more running, more days, so it was very important to get those two days in Au Dhabi. It was the beginning of getting ready for the season so it’s good.”

As for the car he'll be driving this season, Ocon was initially amazed by the speed and performance but now he admits it's about getting the smaller details right.

“I think we have plenty of things to work on, but of course we have to work on how the car feels balance-wise,” he said. “We are still not where we want to be exactly but there’s nothing we can’t fix.

“What I would like to have is to arrive at the last day of the test and say okay we’ve fixed the balance and it feels decent arriving in Melbourne.”