Esteban Ocon feels this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix offers the best opportunity so far for the Sahara Force India F1 Team to score points in 2018, with the team having only scored one point in the opening three races.
The Frenchman was responsible for that point in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the VJM11 has not provided either himself nor team-mate Sergio Perez the opportunity to fight at the front of the midfield this season, something they were consistently doing with the VJM10 in 2017.
Ocon feels the team are doing amazing work to develop the VJM11 this season, and with more new parts being introduced at the Baku Street Circuit, it gives the team confidence of a strong result.
“Baku is definitely a great chance for us to score points,” said Ocon. “The car is improving with each race and I can see how hard everybody is working to find more performance.
“At every race this year we’ve had new items to test and it’s the same this weekend. It’s still early days in the season and if we can unlock the potential in the car I think we can be up there fighting consistently at the front of the midfield.”
Last year, a high profile collision with team-mate Perez ruined a strong race that could have seen one or both cars on the podium – or better – and he feels it was definitely a missed opportunity for the team.
“My first race in Baku last year was pretty eventful,” admitted Ocon. “So much happened in the race and it was definitely a missed opportunity for us. We were competitive so I hope we can be quick again this year.
“The racing down the main straight was really cool and if you pick up a tow you can find a huge speed advantage. It is a place where you can go three or four cars wide, which is insane.
“It’s not the sort of racing you often see in Formula One so it’s quite exciting when it happens. There are good overtaking opportunities so you can make up a lot of ground even if you’re at the back.”