Esteban Ocon has praised the Sahara Force India F1 Team for giving him the opportunity to drive for them in 2017 but has admitted that he has big shoes to fill replacing Nico Hulkenberg.
Ocon has been driving for Manor Racing MRT team for the second half of the season while he impressed many teams throughout 2016.
Speaking to F1i.com Ocon described his move to Force India, “They [Force India] believe in me, they think we can achieve great things together,”
“They want a strong driver to replace Nico, which is a tough task, but I will do my best to replace him the best way possible. Coming with not a lot of experience halfway through the season was very hard. Probably my progress was a good point, and I also tested with Force India back in 2015, and the test was great. I remember being P2, just behind the Mercedes, and it was a hard day – raining, drying, so I remember a great test, great memories, and the team welcomed me well back then.”
The 20-year-old is a Mercedes protégé and held close talks the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team before committing to Force India.
“I can confirm that there had been talks with Renault – but I can’t say why I didn’t go there. And to be honest the only thing that matters for me is that I have a seat for next year. If I reflect on my career I am already ahead of my own schedule as I had expected to join F1 in 2017 in one way or the other. Now I am already here and have secured a competitive cockpit for next season!”