Esteban Ocon helped Force India secure fourth in the World Constructors Championship in 2017, despite its position of one of the least funded teams on the grid.
Force India continued their ‘best of the rest’ status in 2018 but the team fell into administration midway through the season and had to be reborn under new ownership –Racing Point F1 team.
Ocon lost his seat to Lance Stroll the son of the architect of the team’s takeover, Lawrence Stroll, who made his way from Williams Racing.
“It is a massive gap to fill but they will make a step forward, that’s for sure,” Ocon told Motorsport.com.
“Resources have always been the issue, and there will be less of this issue next year. I believe they will be strong contenders.”
Ocon believes Force India’s work ethic and development prowess will be key weapons, having turned its 2018 challenger from “a very difficult car to drive” in pre-season testing to often the fourth-fastest on the grid in the second half of the year.
“I was very impressed, as I was last year, just [by] the professionalism of this team and the motivation they have for results,” said Ocon. “That’s probably the biggest thing.
“They are hungry. That makes the difference. They don’t count the hours.
“One example, they flew back from Mexico and arrived at like 2 am in the UK and the following morning I was there, at 8 am, plus the jet lag, and we were working on the sim.
“Everyone was destroyed, I was as well, but we were already working. That’s why we’re so competitive on-track, even when we don’t have the resources.
“Probably with the resources it’s going to be a lot easier for them.”
Racing Point is set to unveil their 2019 challenger in Toronto Wednesday 13 February.