Ocon - Force India wants to break into F1's Big Three

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New Force India recruit Esteban Ocon says he and his team have high ambitions for the upcoming Formula One campaign.

After finishing fifth in the 2015 Constructors’ championship, the Silverstone-based outfit overhauled Williams to go one better last year, with fourth its best-ever result in the sport.

Speaking to French magazine Audo Hebdo, Ocon, who has joined Force India on a multi-year after learning the ropes at Manor in the second half of 2016, echoes what deputy team principal Bob Fernley and new team-mate Sergio Perez have already said.

“Force India’s goal for 2017 is to finish among the top three,” the 20-year-old declared. “That means we’ll have to edge one of the big teams. [With the new regulations], the competitive order can be totally reshuffled this year.

“That’s why the team expects me to be fully operational from the get-go. I’ve signed for two years but I can’t consider the first season as a learning campaign. I am targeting points at every race and top-five finishes as often as possible.

“I’ll also have a new team-mate in Sergio Perez, who is the benchmark for the team. He is great yardstick, one of the finest racers out there. But I’ll have to race and beat him, just like the other drivers.”

Looking back at his formative stint at Manor, Ocon added: “The nine grands prix I did in 2016 have been a very useful experience because I am now familiar with the F1 environment and have learnt several tracks I did not know.

“That said, I’ll still have to get to grips with venues like Melbourne, Shanghai, Monaco, or Baku in 2017.”

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