‘Destroyed’ F1 star’s stunning hulk-up
Daniel Ricciardo's Renault teammate Esteban Ocon has revealed he achieved a dramatic muscle mass gain of 4.5kg this off-season.
The French racer says he has transformed his frame after admitting to be left physically "destroyed" by the end of his turbulent 2019 season in Formula 1.
Returning to a full-time F1 seat after spending 2019 as Mercedes' chief development driver, Ocon heads into the Australian Grand Prix next month having achieved his weight goals that will allow him to meet Formula 1's driver weight regulations.
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Despite being one of the tallest drivers on the grid at 1.86m, Ocon says Renault will not be carrying any extra weight than the combined 80kg minimum allowance for drivers, their seats and driving equipment.
He says his 4.5kg muscle mass was achieved in just two months of an intense off-season work-out program in France's Pyrenees mountain range.
With a reputation for being one of the slimmest drivers on the grid, Ocon moved to add bulk to his frame in order to better handle the demands of driving full time.
With Formula 1 introducing a minimum driver weight guidelines, Ocon says he was able to focus more on his conditioning this year after comfortably being able to meet the new minimum weight limit.
Ocon told The Race he was able to "transform" his body since he began his conditioning program in December.
"I've put on four and a half kilos of muscle, which is good in two months," the 23-year-old said.
"So I'm pretty happy with my development so it's a good, solid basis to start."
Despite not racing full time in 2019, Ocon says the demands of constant travel from Mercedes headquarters to Grand Prix weekends left him "destroyed" by the end of his final year with the world champions.
It's why he was so determined to muscle up to handle the nine-month 2020 Formula 1 season.
"The season I had [in 2019] was very, very demanding," Ocon said.
"I was not sleeping for two days and 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 the track, doing stuff for Mercedes.
"They used me well! But a lot. So, I arrived, after testing in Abu Dhabi, at my training camp, the lightest I've ever been.
"I was destroyed, basically, from the year.
"So I spent the whole time off, I had fully at my training camp at altitude in the Pyrenees like I've done in the past, but even more.
"Instead of starting the fifth or sixth of January I was there the second. Instead of, I don't know, going back for Christmas the 23rd evening I was there the 24th. Stuff like that.
"I didn't see home the whole winter, and I was going back and forward to the factory."
Ocon is expected to provide a new challenge for Ricciardo after Renault made the brave decision to cut Nico Hulkenberg at the end of 2019.
Ricciardo has recently said he and Ocon must find a way to work together in 2020, despite the pair having a prickly past in Formula 1.
The Aussie star said "I don't like his attitude" after claiming Ocon repeatedly blocked him during a practice session at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman has also previously butted heads after on-track run-ins with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Ricciardo says he and Ocon can find a balance to their Renault rivalry that still allows the team to further develop and challenge the top teams.
"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 told The Age in Barcelona.
"We've got to be smart and help each other out and bring the team forwards together. I've got no intentions to do anything other than that."