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Esteban Ocon

Ocon given special driver honour ahead of French Grand Prix

For the first time, Esteban Ocon will drive in front of his home crowd as a race winner following his maiden victory at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Esteban Ocon will be celebrated with his own grandstand at the 2022 French Grand Prix, several months on from his debut victory in the sport at last year's race in Hungary.

The rare honour, only bestowed upon a handful of drivers, will offer Ocon and Alpine fans a hub to cheer on their favourite driver from throughout the event at Circuit Paul Ricard on 22-24 July.

Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat are amongst the drivers to have raced past a grandstand dedicated entirely to themselves in the past, with the trend growing in recent seasons.

Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo have also had their own stands at their home races in Monaco and Australia respectively.

But no French driver has been celebrated with his own grandstand since Romain Grosjean for the 2020 French Grand Prix.

French GP future remains uncertain

As things stand, there is a possibility that the 2022 edition of the French Grand Prix could be the last of its kind, with Circuit Paul Ricard's contract with F1 set to expire this year.

The current Concorde Agreement allows for a maximum of 24 Grands Prix in a calendar year. But with Las Vegas, Qatar and China all set to return in 2023, the French event finds itself in a fight to keep hold of its spot.

In fear of losing his home race, Ocon has already vowed to do "everything" possible to keep the event on the calendar.

"I don't know what's the situation exactly, but I'm not happy to hear that it's under threat at the moment," the Alpine driver said, speaking to members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.

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