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Featured Ocon Secures Multi Year Force India Contract

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    Esteban Ocon Signs for Force India.jpg
    Musical chairs part three - Esteban Ocon will drive for Force India in 2017 and beyond after signing a 'multi-year' deal to drive for the Silverstone based team alongside current driver Sergio Perez.

    Ok so this one wasn't exactly unexpected, however following the swift reshuffle of drivers at Renault Sport F1, highly regarded Frenchman and Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon has been confirmed as a Force India driver next season, taking the seat from under the nose of current Manor teammate and fellow Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein. Joining the much improved Segio Perez in a Mercedes powered Force India next season, Ocon has made a sizable impression on the Formula One grid this season since making his mid year debut for the Manor team, going on to impress alongside the highly rated Pascal Wehrlein and adding to a stellar reputation earned through success in both Formula Renault 3.5 and GP3 alongside some eye catching DTM drives for the Mercedes ART team. Ocon has enjoyed spells as test driver for Force India and Renault F1 team's as well as seat time in the all conquering AMG Mercedes squad, a team he remains contracted to as part of the Mercedes Young Driver scheme.

    "It's a pleasure to welcome Esteban as our new race driver," Team Principle Vijay Mallya said. "He's an exceptional talent, as his status as a Mercedes Junior demonstrates, and I have no doubt he will flourish inside our team.

    "We've had our eye on Esteban for a number of years and have followed his progress through the junior categories where he delivered outstanding results. We ran him in the car last year during testing and his performance convinced us that he is more than capable of racing alongside Sergio.

    "Sahara Force India has a tradition of investing in young, talented drivers and the arrival of Esteban will bring some fresh energy and motivation to everyone in the team."

    For his part, the 20 year old driver was understandably delighted to secure his Grand Prix future for the coming season and said:

    "I'm very excited to join Sahara Force India. I know the team quite well already because I was a test driver last year and I'm really looking forward to working with everybody at Silverstone once again.

    "I'm still relatively new to Formula One, but spending half a season at Manor Racing has given me some valuable experience and I feel ready for this new opportunity with Sahara Force India.

    "The next few months will be very busy as I do all I can to prepare for the challenge ahead of me. It means lots of days at the factory, working on the simulator and building relationships with the engineers and everybody in the team.

    "It's something I've been working towards my whole life and I intend to grab this opportunity with both hands so that I can deliver the results the team expects from me. I want to say ‘thank you' to everybody at Manor and especially to Mercedes-Benz for their support and belief in me. I can't wait for 2017 and my first full season racing in Formula One."
    With seats at Renault, Force India and Haas all recently accounted for, the main players in the 2017 driver market are now Sauber with no confirmed drivers (although Marcus Eriksson is expected to confirm in the coming days) and perennial backmarkers Manor Racing who have yet to confirm either seat for the coming season.

    Who goes where in 2017? Watch this space to find out...

    Keep an eye out on the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum for all the latest news and discussions around the world of Grand Prix racing. Join in the discussion today.

    Do you think Ocon was a good signing by Force India? What does this mean for the future of Pascal Wehrlein? Let us know in the comments section below!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  2. I think Pascal should of got the seat, he has done very well this year. I think Ocon needs a bit more time to develop.
    • Agree Agree x 9
  3. Very quick future star in Ocon. Quick and consistent. Sure Pascal deserved it, but Ocon will still do a stellar job in my opinion.

    At least they didn't sign Nasr or Ericsson or Gutierrez!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Yeah glad they didn't go for money over talent.
  5. GP20


    The spanish man didn't got great result he has a long arm.
  6. Brice.S.


    So....Ocon was driving in FR3.5 ?! first news....;)
  7. I think the issue was is that Pascal is a bit of a tosser by the sounds of things really. It doesn't help when you ignore team orders to turn the car off which nearly damaged it.
  8. Yeah. I also heard that when Pascal did a test day with Force India he didn't give very good feedback.
  9. Celestiale


    While his character is questionable (as is Hamilton's, Vettel's, etc), he is one of the best drivers in the grid. I am pretty sure he has some sort of agreement with a top team (Mercedes?) to get the seat, as soon as it's free.
  10. Yeah, probably will replace Rosberg at the end of 2018.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  11. GP20


    Do you know what you are talking about?
    With one of the fastest car of the grid (with the Mercedes engine) he has been one of the worst driver.
    In the opposite Grosjean with one if not the slowest car of the grid is able to make points.
    There must be politic somewhere.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  12. Celestiale


    Fastest car?? Are we talking straight line? :roflmao: Because that's the only thing where the Manor is fastest.
    As race car, it's the slowest by some margin. Aerodynamics are by far far the worst from all cars. The only reason they got a point this season was a sensational drive from Wehrlein. The only reason they are in front of Sauber quite some times (well, Haryanto wasn't really), is that they have by far the better drivers. Ocon is a decent race driver, and deservingly got his place in Force India, but let's be honest, while qualifying was close sometimes, in a race he is nowhere near Wehrlein.
    Wehrlein is one of the best drivers in a race, i wouldn't be wondering if he will be faster then Rosberg. He was the fastest Mercedes driver in the DTM, where the standard isn't far off from Formula 1 (if even). Also shown by other (former) F1 drivers, like Glock or Ocon, who didn't particularly set the world on fire in this class.
  13. Pascal should have gotten the seat
  14. Nox

    Staff Premium

    He did 3 races for Comtec Racing in 2014
    • Haha Haha x 1
  15. Don't underestimate Ocon, he had to make his debut halfway the season in a difcult to handle car and lately he is already showing his pace is on par with Wehrlein who is having a bit more experience this year with the Manor.

    Doesn't mean Wehrlein is a bad driver or something I think they both are decent drivers. But I can understand the decision to split the two Mercedes talents. I think they are trying to avoid a similar situation as what happened with Max and Sainz at STR. 2 drivers fighting for the same seat will posible result in internal competition, animosity and problems between them and within the team as well on track, something that happened within STR between Sainz and Max. Same thing could happen within the Manor team if both would have raced for them.

    Now Ocon can learn alongside Checo, and Wehrlein can lead the Manors. Before 2018 nothing will change at Mercedes in terms of their lineup. But after I think Ocon is going to have the biggest chance in a possible Mercedes seat.