Force India are aiming to overhaul one of Formula 1’s big three teams this season as they look to improve on last year’s P4; that’s according to Esteban Ocon.
Ocon is entering his first full season in Formula 1 this year where he will race for Force India after signing on as Sergio Perez’s new team-mate.
It is a note-worthy promotion for the Frenchman who is moving from the very back of the grid, where he was with Manor, into the team that was best of the rest behind F1’s top three in 2016.
However, this season Force India are aiming to go one better as they look to challenge for a place inside the top three.
He told French magazine Audo Hebdo: “Force India’s goal for 2017 is to be among the top three.
“This means we will have to pass one of the ‘big’ ones. There may be a complete reshuffle of the field this year.”
“With the discontinuation of the token system, which greatly limited engine development, gaps should be reduced more easily.
“The established order can be upset and it is for this reason that I have been asked to be operational immediately.”
The 20-year-old admits that Force India’s goals mean this will not be a season of learning but rather one in which he is expected to score regular points.
“I signed two years, but the first year is not to learn,” he said, “my goal is to be in the points at each race, and aim for the top five as often as possible.”
“Also, my nine grands prix from 2016 will be very useful because I am already in the F1 environment and I learned several circuits that I did not know. But I will now discover Melbourne, Shanghai, Monaco and Baku…
“I will also have a new team member, Sergio Pérez, the reference driver of the team.
“He is one of the top seven drivers according to some experts but I must beat him, like the other [drivers].”