Dubai: F1 driver Esteban Ocon and golfer Ian Poulter, two of the greatest sportsmen of our times, have inked out an advance meeting date at the Yas Marina Circuit when their seasons conclude in the first half of December.
Ocon, who is currently with the Renault DP World F1 Team alongside Daniel Ricciardo, is expected to be one of the standout drivers when the season resumes with the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend. While, DP World ambassador Poulter — who has finishes of T20, T14 and 64th in the last three PGA Tour events held in June — will be hoping to shrug off the rust and do much better at next week’s back-to-back tournaments being held in Ohio.
With both championships moving forward as planned during the rest of the year, both of them are expected to be in the UAE heading for a professional rendezvous in the second week of December — Ocon at the final round of the Formula One championship in Abu Dhabi from December 11-13 and Poulter for the season-concluding DP World Tour Championship on the Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course from December 10-13.
Nicknamed ‘The Postman’, the 44-year-old Poulter, whose best in a Major was a runner-up spot at the 2008 Open Championship, is confident he will have enough time to lift the trophy at the climax of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and then make it to the UAE capital to see Ocon possibly fight for the world F1 crown.
“I should be done with the trophy presentation by 5pm and that would give me enough time to drive down to Yas Marina and watch you on the podium,” Poulter told the French F1 driver in a live chat presented by DP World in a tri-series titled, ‘Enabling Smarter Conversations’.
“Definitely, let’s make that happen as that would be a good story,” Ocon smiled back.
“I definitely look forward to driving at my best to achieve this,” the 23-year-old F1 driver replied.
Poulter is a huge fan of fast cars. His collection includes a 288 GTO, an F40, an F50, an Enzo, a LaFerrari and a 1962 California Spider, which on its own is worth $11 million (Dh40 million). In total, the Englishman’s car collection is said to be more than $25 million.
“I can tell by the smile on your face that you’ve got a dream job as there are just a few of you guys that get the opportunity to drive these F1 cars. And for me, as a petrol-head looking in from the outside, it is the ultimate job,” Poulter said.
“I am pretty sure we can organise something for you Ian through DP World and the team,” Ocon promised.
“That would be simply amazing,” Poulter beamed.
During the course of their friendly chat, the two sportsmen rued the absence of fans and spectators during competitions due to the current pandemic situation. “Just to hear the crowd is liking having the right sort of atmosphere,” Ocon related.
“At times, we have some testing done at the venue on Mondays [a day after the race is over] and it is pretty much the same feeling. It feels empty as there is no atmosphere, but at the same time I feel it is better to have the races without the fans at this juncture,” the French driver added.
Playing without the crowd cheering on gave Poulter a “weird feeling’. “Just imagine, no one’s going to clap for a good shot or a clever putt. It’s that special kind of emotion that the fans bring to the course and for sure most of us will be missing that now,” Poulter admitted.