After stunning team bosses for the majority of the time he has been in a Formula One car, especially during last weekend's very wet Brazilian Grand Prix, the news has been confirmed that Esteban Ocon will be taking the seat vacated by Nico Hulkenberg at the Force India Formula One team for the upcoming 2017 championship season.
Ocon has signed a multi-year deal to drive with the team and he is more than happy that the handful of races he has contested for Manor so far this year was enough to impress and land him a seast alongside the highly talented Sergio Perez.
“I'm very excited to join Sahara Force India,” he said. “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.”
Together with Sergio Perez, the 20-year-old Frenchman will form one of the most exciting line-ups on the grid with a blend of youth and experience.
It's a pleasure to welcome Esteban as our new race driver,” said Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director. “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.”