Robert Fernley has heaped praise on outgoing Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Nico Hülkenberg, who he feels got the very best out of Sergio Perez during their three-year partnership at the Silverstone-based outfit.
Hülkenberg moves to the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in 2017, and Deputy Team Principal Fernley felt the combination of the German alongside Mexican racer Perez was superb both for the team and the drivers.
Fernley is hoping that Hülkenberg’s replacement Esteban Ocon can offer the same kind of inter-team rivalry to push the team forward, although he knows some work needs to be done with the Frenchman to get him up to speed before the season starts.
“It’s just been a superb combination because we’ve been able to get the best out of Checo,” said Fernley to Autosport. “He’s driving today as a very mature, well-defined Formula 1 driver. Obviously it would have been much easier to go into ’17 with Nico as a known quantity.
“If we can achieve that same level of competition – and that is what we’re looking for – then I think Esteban can deliver that. But we’re going to have to work hard with him in the winter so that he’s up and running for the first race.”