Ocon reveals F1 off-season illness

Esteban Ocon admitted he was ill for much of the F1 winter break

Esteban Ocon admitted he was ill for much of the F1 winter break

Alpine F1 driver Esteban Ocon has revealed he suffered from a viral illness following the 2022 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

His revelation came at the launch of Alpine’s 2023 Formula 1 car in London where he admitted it left him unable to train normally for several weeks.

“Looking at the winter, I’ve been very sick after Abu Dhabi,” Ocon told selected media, including Speedcafe.com.

“I got some kind of viruses in the lungs, so for a month and a half  I was not really able to go back on the fitness level that I was supposed to have.

“But we’ve done a great job together with my team, with my coaches, and to go back to fitness level that I have in the previous year.

“I feel great now but in such a short period of time, you know, those viruses are strong and everyone needs to take care.”

Ocon’s fitness is set to be put to the test in short order, with pre-season testing starting next Thursday in Bahrain.

There, he’ll log around 12 hours in the car as he shares the three days of running with new team-mate Pierre Gasly.

Testing concludes on February 25, with track action for Round 1 of the season, also in Bahrain, beginning just six days later.

“Back 100 percent now, but it was worrying for a moment,” he admitted.

“I’m happy with how it ended but obviously a bit of a difficult moment at the start of pre-season.

“I was able to do some things, but I have to say my cardio went to the highest level at walking pace, for example, like it was that bad.

“So we were quite worried, but we did everything in a way for me to recover the quickest possible and to switch that into full training mode when I was feeling better,

“Then I climbed massively up, but for a long time, it did plateau.

“That was when we started to worry, but it’s great to have a very strong team around me to be able to guide me and keep my head up during those moments.

“We have the data on different physical tests and my weight and all that,” Ocon added of his recovery from the illness when asked by Speedcafe.com.

“I’m higher on most, on most data that I had in 2022, so, that’s very good, very reassuring.

“It was just a scary moment for quite a while, which was not going away.

“The human body is a very strange machine – it’s not a machine and that’s why we can’t fix it as quickly as we would fix a car, which is quite a pain sometimes, but that’s how it is.”

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