Force India confirm Ocon


After weeks of speculation, Force India have confirmed that Esteban Ocon will join the team in 2017 having agreed a multi-year deal.

Force India were left a driver short for next year’s championship after agreeing to part ways with Nico Hulkenberg, who signed with Renault.

Ocon emerged as one of the favourites to replace the German with Force India confirming him ahead of the Brazilian GP.

“I’m very excited to join Sahara Force India,” said the 20-year-old Frenchman. “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.”

Ocon, who previously tested with Force India, has signed a multi-year deal with the team.

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director, added: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Esteban as our new race driver. 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.”