By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Force India announced that it has signed Esteban Ocon to a multi-year agreement beginning for the 2017 Formula 1 season.
The 20-year-old Frenchman is a Mercedes junior driver and has been racing with Manor Racing for the last seven rounds, starting since the Belgian Grand Prix.
The 2015 GP3 Series champion had been serving as a reserve driver with Renault and had been tabbed for a full-time seat prior to signing with Force India.
Ocon will team with Sergio Perez next year, replacing Nico Hulkenberg, which keeps some familiarity in play considering he has tested with the Silverstone-based squad on several occasions since 2015.
“I’m very excited to join Force India,” Ocon said. “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 Force India.”
Ocon admitted there are busy months ahead, but that he plans on seizing the opportunity.
“The next few months will be very busy as I do all I can to prepare for the challenge ahead of me,” Ocon said. “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.”