Force India: Esteban Ocon can't be a Mercedes stand-in driver

Force India would not release new signing Esteban Ocon to fill in at Mercedes should the world champion team need a stand-in driver in Formula 1

Force India: Esteban Ocon can't be a Mercedes stand-in driver

Mercedes junior Ocon replaces Renault-bound Nico Hulkenberg at Force India for 2017, with a two-year deal in place.

Asked if Mercedes could call Ocon up to a race seat during that time if it needed a substitute driver, Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley replied: "Absolutely not.

"He's a Force India driver for two years, and that's it.

"He can't substitute one of their drivers, but if they were asking him to test, I'd be quite pleased to let him do that."

While Ocon's Mercedes links make him a potentially short-term signing for Force India, Fernley dismissed suggestions that is a drawback to signing the Frenchman.

"We could have a situation with another driver [not connected to another team] where we've got him for two years and then he decides to move on," he said.

"You have to optimise the performance from both the team and driver point of view while you have them.

"If you're performing at the top, you limit their desire to want to change [teams]."

Ocon made nine F1 starts in 2016 after being placed by Mercedes at Manor for the second half of the season, and he says the anticipated demands of '17's new F1 cars have led him to overhaul his training regime.

"It's a lot of work, instead of going two weeks in a training camp I'm doing two months, so I'm not coming back home until almost the first race of the season," said the Frenchman.

"The days are mega, mega long. It's from 9am to 9pm, double the intensity of the work.

"It's to put muscle on, to put weight on. The cars are going to be so hard to drive that this will be needed.

"It's going to be mega impressive now in corners, it's going to be so quick.

"The camera will see a speed that we saw only in qualifying, now we will see it all the time.

"But then for the races it's not going to be interesting, it's going to be harder to overtake, and there's going to be less opportunities."

shares
comments
Sauber's 2017 Formula 1 car to make first appearance in filming day

Previous article

Sauber's 2017 Formula 1 car to make first appearance in filming day

Next article

Manor Formula 1 team closes after efforts to find a buyer fail

Manor Formula 1 team closes after efforts to find a buyer fail
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021