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Force India will not allow Ocon to leave as Mercedes "substitute"

  • Published on 27 Jan 2017 14:19
  • comments 1
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Force India will not allow Esteban Ocon to leave Force India if Mercedes require a substitute driver. Ocon joins Force India for his first full season in F1, partnering Sergio Perez.

Ocon is part of the Mercedes junior programme, alongside side Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein and GP3 rookie George Russell. Ocon got the Force India call up over former team-mate Wehrlein. When asked if Ocon would be allowed to leave if Mercedes needed a substitute, they were very clear.

"Absolutely not," said Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley. "He's a Force India driver for two years, and that's it. He can't substitute one of their drivers, but if they were asking him to test, I'd be quite pleased to let him do that."

Fernley denied the fact that Ocon is only at Force India for the short term as a negative, as Mercedes are looking for Ocon to grow and gain experience in Formula One.

"We could have a situation with another driver [not connected to another team] where we've got him for two years and then he decides to move on," he said.

"You have to optimize the performance from both the team and driver point of view while you have them. If you're performing at the top, you limit their desire to want to change [teams]."

Ocon has admitted that he is training harder than ever in preparation for the 2017 cars, which will produce higher G-Force's, putting a driver's fitness through the test.

"It's a lot of work, instead of going two weeks in a training camp I'm doing two months, so I'm not coming back home until almost the first race of the season," said the Frenchman.

"The days are mega, mega long. It's from 9am to 9pm, double the intensity of the work. It's to put muscle on, to put weight on. The cars are going to be so hard to drive that this will be needed. It's going to be mega impressive now in corners, it's going to be so quick.

"The camera will see a speed that we saw only in qualifying, now we will see it all the time. But then for the races it's not going to be interesting, it's going to be harder to overtake, and there's going to be less opportunities."

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (1)

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  • Do they really have that authority?

    • + 0
    • Jan 27 2017 - 18:30

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  • Team Alpine F1
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