"It was a very close call but Esteban just came out on top," Fernley told Sky Sports.
"We've always had a very clear opinion of what we need from a driver point of view which is the best driver that Force India can afford. Whether that means a package or purely talent, that's Vijay's final call."
Ocon has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the Silverstone-based team, opening the possibility of progressing to Mercedes once either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg's contracts expire - should Mercedes choose to remain in F1.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing