Force India could lose Ocon to Mercedes

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Force India's Otmar Szafnauer acknowledged that the Silverstone-based outfit could lose Esteban Ocon at the end of the 2018 season.

With each passing race, the French driver consolidates his status as one of F1's most promising talents, thanks to his remarkable consistency and performances.

As a Mercedes-supported driver, Ocon has an allegiance to the German manufacturer and could well join the Silver Arrows team if he is requested to do so.

"He is a Mercedes driver," Szafnauer told Auto Motor und Sport.

"Mercedes has financed his career and therefore they have a certain right to him. We would not want to deny him the chance to race in a top team for the world championship.

"We would release Esteban," said the Force India manager, if Mercedes comes becking.

Until then, both Ocon and Sergio Perez are committed to the team for 2018.

Szafnauer indicated however that Force India would likely add a third driver as its official reserve next season, with a view to potentially replacing Ocon the year after.

"We did it successfully with Hulkenberg, di Resta and Liuzzi," Szafnauer said, amid rumours Daniil Kvyat could suddenly be a candidate to be the Force India reserve.

"They all became regular drivers after a testing year," he added.

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