home icon / F1 News, Reports and Results / Ocon potentially as good as Verstappen, says Fernley

Ocon potentially as good as Verstappen, says Fernley

© XPB 

Force India's Bob Fernley believes that new recruit Esteban Ocon is the real deal, whose potential talent carries huge promise.

A Mercedes protégé, Ocon stepped into the big time last summer at the Belgian Grand Prix when he replaced an underfunded Rio Haryanto at Manor.

His move to Force India, a team he had tested for in the past, was predicted well in advance, and its one which team boss Bob Fernley is delighted with given his positive opinion of the 20-year-old French driver.

"We were very fortunate to be able to have a look at him early on in his career," Fernley told Sky F1.

"At that time he dealt very well with the engineers, showed his promise on track and we were very optimistic that we could get him later.

"He's fitted in exceptionally well. It's always very difficult for a new driver to come in, especially when you've had consistency with somebody like Nico for so long.

"But Esteban has been an absolute delight, slotted straight in and it's like he's been with us forever."

Ocon, who has a two-year contract with Force India, has already rewarded his team with two solid drives into the points in the first couple of races of the season.

But what excites Fernley most is his young driver's burgeoning talent which rivals that of Red Bull prodigy Max Verstappen.

"I absolutely do [believe he has the potential of Verstappen]. That's why we brought him on," Fernley told Sky F1.

"He's with us for sure for two years and hopefully a little longer."

GALLERY: F1 drivers' wives and girlfriends

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter