Throughout 2022, Ocon placed a renewed focus on his physical efforts and training regime in a bid to find more performance in the car, aiding his push to statistically his most successful season in F1 to date.
Although Ocon failed to score a podium finish, he recorded his highest points total for a single season to date en route to eighth place in the drivers’ championship for Alpine.
But following the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Ocon revealed he got “very sick” after picking up a lung virus that impacted his training and caused his fitness to drop.
“For a month and a half, I was not really able to go back on the fitness level that I was supposed to have,” Ocon explained at the launch of Alpine’s new F1 car on Thursday.
“But we’ve done a great job together with my team, with my coaches, and to go back to fitness level that I had in the previous year.
“I feel great now. But in such a short period of time, those viruses are strong. Everyone needs to take care, obviously.”
Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Pierre Gasly, Alpine
Photo by: Alpine
Ocon clarified that he was “back to 100% now”, but admitted it was “worrying for a moment” as he could not complete his usual training for six weeks.
“I was able to do some things, but like my cardio went to the highest level at walking pace for example. It was that bad,” said Ocon.
“So we were quite worried, but we did everything in a way for me to recover as quick as possible and to switch that into full training mode when I was feeling better, and then I climbed massively up.
“But for a long time it did plateau, and that was when we started to worry.”
Ocon’s former team-mate, Fernando Alonso, saw his pre-season preparations impacted in 2021 following a cycling accident that meant he could not train for a number of weeks, while subsequent surgery then interrupted his build-up to 2022.
But Ocon said the results from his pre-season physical tests showed he was “higher on most data than I had in 2022”, suggesting he was back in peak condition.
“It was just a scary moment for quite a while which was not going away,” said Ocon.
“The human body is a very strange machine. It’s not a machine, that’s why we can’t fix it as quickly as we would fix the car, which is quite a pain sometimes. But that’s how it is.”