Ocon “happy” to return to Saudi Arabia with safety assurances · RaceFans

In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says that he would be “very happy” to race in Saudi Arabia again.

In brief

Ocon would be “very happy” to return to Saudi Arabia with safety assurances

Esteban Ocon says that he would be “very happy” to race in Saudi Arabia again in the future if Formula 1 and the Saudi Arabian government can offer the same assurances about safety.

Last month’s race in Jeddah was marred by a missile strike on a nearby oil plant during Friday practice which led to a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association over whether drivers would race. The drivers agreed to race after assurances the rest of the event would be secure.

“For Saudi Arabia, of course there were concerns, obviously,” said Ocon. “We discussed for a long time, with all the drivers but once we spoke to the authorities and Formula 1 they reassured us that there was no danger for us, and that we were all safe.

“So, we were definitely happy to race in the future. Of course, if that’s the same, very happy to go back to Jeddah and keep racing to the races of the calendar and trust FIA and Formula 1 for our safety.”

Young drivers ‘don’t need academics to shine’ – Michel

Young drivers in junior formulae do not have to be part of F1 driver academics to succeed, says Formula 2 and Formula 3 boss Bruno Michel.

A large proportion of the drivers in Formula 2 and Formula 3 belong to junior driver programs of F1 teams. However, F2 championship leader Felipe Drugovich and third-placed Richard Verschoor are not.

“I think that shows one thing for sure is that you don’t need to be part of an academy to shine,” said Michel. “It’s not automatic and the reason why most of the time the drivers from the academics are shining is because the academics are trying to recruit the best drivers.

“If they are doing a proper job – and most of them are doing a very strong job – they have strong drivers in their academics for sure. Now, you have sometimes drivers that are not part of an academy and that are doing a very good job. I think it proves that you don’t need to be part of an academy to do a good job. You need to be strong. Is it going to be more an issue for them to go to Formula 1 in the future? That’s the real question that they need to ask themselves, because when you are part of an academy it’s quite automatic.”

Saucy fastest on first day of F3 test

ART’s Gregoire Saucy topped the times in Barcelona

FIA Formula 3 rookie Gregoire Saucy was the fastest of all in the first day of testing in Barcelona.

The ART driver topped the times with a 1’32.247, almost two tenths of a second faster than Franco Colapinto for Van Amersfoort. Victor Martins was the third fastest in the second of the three ART cars, with Trident’s Zane Maloney fourth fastest. Prema driver Arthur Leclerc, who lies second in the championship, was 14th.

The second and final day of testing will take place today, before Formula 3 joins F2 and Formula 1 at Imola next weekend for their third and fourth rounds of the championship.

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