Force India wants Ocon to challenge Perez

Date published: January 29 2017

As Force India rookie Esteban Ocon gets ready to race in his first full season in the sport, team boss Otmar Szafnauer is expecting him to challenge his experienced partner Sergio Perez.

Szafnauer revealed that one of the main reasons Ocon got chosen over Pascal Wehrlein was the Frenchman’s ability to adapt and learn in new surroundings, making it easier for him to become apart of the Silverstone-based outfit.

The Force India boss also added that although Nico Hulkenberg left a huge gap in the team when he departed to Renault, he has no doubt that Ocon will swiftly fill the void, but admits it is going to be a challenge.

"We’re hoping that Esteban can learn very quickly, which is one reason that we chose him because he does show the ability to get up to speed quickly," said Szafnauer.

“We will teach him how to drive our car and our hope is he can challenge Checo, to take over from Nico.

"It’s a big ask, Nico had a lot of experience and is a very quick driver himself, but I think Esteban has got the potential in time to take over from Nico and do a good job and push Checo along.

"I think it’s really important to have two drivers that can score points in the championship otherwise there’s a risk of falling behind. It’s important that Esteban steps up and scores points right away, early and often.

"I think it’s a challenge for him just coming into the team, whether it’s an old car or a new car, but because all the cars are new I think that actually helps him relative to the others.

"Whenever there is change there’s risk and opportunity, so we like to make sure that we’re stable, but we’re changing drivers so there’s always risk there."