F1 Winter Break
2017
Force India F1 mid season analysis: Is Esteban Ocon level with Sergio Perez?
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Posted By: Editor   |  10 Aug 2017   |  2:42 pm GMT  |  76 comments

Force India has been dubbed the ‘best pound-for-pound outfit in Formula 1′ as it looks for consecutive fourth place constructors’ championship finishes this season, and a possible fight with Red Bull for third in 2018.

Without the weight of expectation on Vijay Mallya’s team, Force India has batted away the challenges of Williams, Toro Rosso and Renault in what could have been a tight fourth place battle, with a car that is reliable and fast enough to produce consistent points-scoring finishes.

At the mid season point, the Silverstone-based team sits 83 points behind Red Bull, in fourth place, and 60 points ahead of Williams.

It’s a comfortable position, but with Esteban Ocon taking the fight to Sergio Perez this season, sparks have started flying between the pair and rumours of a civil war duly hit the headlines after the Canadian Grand Prix with an escalation threatening the team after the Azerbaijan GP.

The tension that’s present in the Red Bull camp isn’t so palpable at Force India yet, with former Manor F1 driver Ocon providing a healthy dose of competition to fourth-year Force India racer Perez. Ocon has earned 45 points compared to Perez’s 56 points and it’s already clear that Ocon’s second fiddle status has quickly faded.

It is, however, a worry for the team that Ocon took out his team-mate at Baku, and the team has had to address the issue internally. In a recent interview, Ocon attempted to cool the situation but denied that the collision in Azerbaijan was his fault alone as the circuit was a ‘state of emergency’.

“We ended his 15-race scoring streak! We!” maintained 20-year old Ocon.

“I went to the factory right afterwards and the team said that it was a race incident and that we both made mistakes.

“Of course that shouldn’t happen – but a race on such a track is close to a state of emergency. We have been told that we should be more careful in the future as it was not only his fault or only my fault. End of story.”

Ocon also hinted that he’s working harder than his Mexican team-mate due to a lack of experience.

“I have to work very hard! I have a lot less experience than Sergio [Perez] so I have to catch up on so many details that come naturally to him.

“Before and after each race I am mostly in the factory for simulator work. I think that is what makes a big difference.

“I don’t want to say a number,” he replied to a question asked about his training efforts compared to Perez’s. “So let’s put it this way: [I put in] a lot more!”

“I am not here to stay behind him all the time. I want to push – very hard,” said Ocon.

Perez delivers, and he is being pushed even after his previous, experienced team-mate Nico Hulkenberg moved to Renault. With a proven track record of 18 points finishes from the last 20 races, just one retirement in the last 40 races (at Baku 2017) and 125 career starts, Perez has played a significant role in giving Force India its ‘best pound-for-pound’ badge.

The catch here for Force India is that Perez is verging on wantaway status. At this mid-point, he’s pushing for a new contract with the team knowing that the frontrunners are keeping tabs on his talents. With a lower budget than its competitors, Force India has the dilemma either of delivering a new, more expensive contract or letting go of a proven prospect.

“In terms of my future, I just hope that once I come back to the next race, after the summer break, I can have a new contract,” Perez said to ESPN in August.

“That would be good you know, but you never know what will happen.

“I think the team has been moving forwards every year. Although last year we achieved the same position which we have now which is fourth, I think we have consolidated that fourth place.

“I think the team is moving forwards; there is a lot more interest in terms of sponsorship into the team, more investment but it’s not easy to make the next step with the big boys, with the big teams, it’s not easy.”

Don’t rule out a move for Perez, but it all seems to hinge on a more lucrative contract from Force India, and the possibility of a third place challenge in 2018; neither of those possibilities are out of the question.

Force India’s 2017 season in numbers

The most reliable team in F1 right now is Force India, with 1334 raced laps – the highest number completed so far this season – over Mercedes’ 1330.

While the Mercedes engine delivers for Force India, the chassis isn’t as strong as Red Bull’s, which explains why Red Bull retains the third place constructors’ position, even though the team has completed the fewest raced laps out of any team this season: 928.

Reliability failures have been all but non-existent for Force India this year and its only DNF classification came from Perez’s collision with Ocon in Azerbaijan this year.

The team has finished in a non-points scoring position only in Monaco (Ocon 12th and Perez 13th), also managing to stay on the lead lap in six out of 11 races in a consecutive stretch from Bahrain to Azerbaijan.

Ocon may seem like the second driver if we purely examine how many laps Perez has led over the Frenchman, with Perez leading that head-to-head 516-156. That’s not such a scathing statistic considering Ocon finishes in an average position of 8.3, compared to Perez’s average finishing position of 7.5.

The competition remains close when we factor in the average numbers of positions gained as Ocon gains 2.8 per race compared to Perez’s one. In fact, Ocon has only finished lower than his starting position once this season, having lost one place from seventh at Silverstone.

Perez wins almost all the head-to-head battles when it comes to fastest laps (intra-team) and qualifying with 10 fastest laps over Ocon’s one. Ocon lapped faster than his team-mate only in Canada, when, controversially, the team couldn’t convince Perez to swap place with Ocon for a likely podium finish over the slowing Daniel Ricciardo in front.

The Mexican almost sweeps the qualifying battle 9-2, only being out-qualified by his team-mate in Bahrain and Monaco, but the difference between the two remains narrow as Ocon has an average starting position of 11th, compared to Perez’s ninth.

Ocon is threatening, then, to catch up to his team-mate over the second half of the season with just an 11 point gap between the two. A clear upward trend of qualifying performances from the Frenchman – starting the season qualifying no better than 10th before the Canadian GP but continuing the season with a string of top 10 qualifying performances up from Hungary, where he qualified 12th – starts to paint a picture of a thriving team-mate battle within the Force India camp.

That’s not to say that Perez is in a slump, rather that Ocon has gotten a firm grip on the VJM10’s wheel and when he makes his 21st career start in the Belgian GP on August 27, expect the two to be neck and neck; the gap will close even more over the remaining races.

The question lingers: will tempers in the Force India camp continue to flare?

Have your say on Force India’s mid season analysis in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

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76 comments

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1

Second half will be interesting, as Ocon has already driven every track in a F1 last year.

2

Ocon runs Perez a close second, but is Perez really the benchmark that you want to measure yourself against?
We don't hear of him being mentioned by the top 3 teams like we do with Max, Charles and even Ocon. Perez will sign up with Force One for another three years and then fade away from F1 as a solid but unremarkable driver.

3

I agree he'll sign up, not sure for how long, then Force India will go backwards as the Mercedes engine is gradually matched by other teams. He's not as talented as the best, and (by this article), not as hard working as some, so also agree he'll fade away against brighter talents of the future.

4
Clarks4WheelDrift

Perez may be missing the softer tyres of old where he could nurse them better to stay consistently fast throughout the race?

5

Ocon is the better driver.
Even though Perez has the experience.
Canada and the lack off team directive made for an unfortunate loss of places to Vettel.
Perez is not going to Ferrari nor is he going anywhere other than continuing at "Force V The Debtor ".
I can see Perez on a final contract before he goes into a LMP1team.

6

Umm LMP1 just died... FE or Indy maybe?

7

He's been regularly linked to Ferrari since picking himself up after his McLaren stint, who were a front-running team when he signed for them.

8

Perez has had the measure of generally highly regarded Hulkenberg while they were racing together, not to mention that he was last year Renault's first choice.

10

It's unbelievable how rhetoric is used to discredit the comfortably lead that Perez has established over the Frenchman all season long. In every category, Perez has a crystal clear advantage over Ocon, but still the author wants with all his being that the scenario would be the other way around. It's beyond believe and professionalism to try to justify why Ocon is 'only' behind Perez by just a few this and that, when himself has said it clearly: Force India is 60 points ahead of Williams in the constructors championship.

It's impossible for Ocon to be behind a Williams, a Renault or a Toro Rosso, but somehow, that's an achievement from the Frenchman. And it's impossible for Perez to be ahead of a Red Bull, but has been actually ahead of one for two races, and still he gets downplayed by huge percentages of the media and "fans".

It's really a sad story when some people needs to add fuel to the fire to a rivalry that only exists within their minds...

11

The mention by Ocon of being out-worked is too out of context. Not beiung in the factory 5 days a week is not a sign of being out-worked. Perez does not stay in F1 as long as he has, with upwards results every year bar the worst car McLaren had produced in their history up until that year; Perez has accumulated the necessary dough to have his own gym, personal trainer and simulator back at his home; plus he has 3+ years working with mechanics, etc... this is just another shot from Ocon to Perez to fuel the intra-team battle. All well.
They are both great racers.

12

Riiight, Trumpette. Blame the media...fake news. Reality is, is that Ocon is only 20, and only a few qualy laps from beating Perez outright. That's just a fact. Deal with it.

13

@Bandini,
Just interested, why the name Bandini? I almost went for the alias SawBandini. Lorenzo Bandini was my first favourite driver, until that fateful 1967 Monaco day. Didn't have much fortune with my next choice either: Jim Clark. He died april 1968.

14

Grow up!

15

Could not agree more. Over-biased towards Ocon or against Perez. Not sure which direction not why.

I'd add that Ocon was beaten by Wherlein in the Manor. The latter not looking particularly a star performer.

Perez was close to Button, but had that badly dealt McLaren card. Looks like that could be his minus, specially with the British press.

16

Uhmmm, didn't Ocon come in half way through the season??

17

Ocon is effectively a rookie, so if he's capable of being right behind well established quality driver like Perez, then the advantage the latter has over Ocon may not be as comfortable as you think.

18

Yup Ocon another average Toto Wolf managed driver.

19

So, facts and stats are now rhetoric?
Also, if you think there's no intra-team rivalry, in any team, you're delusional.

20

[mod]

Rhetoric allows you to use everything to skew your argument in your favor, including statistics, even when those facts contradicts your argument, like this case (all in favor of Perez):

-Leading laps: 516 - 156
-Average finishing position: 7.5 - 8.3
-Fastest lap in races: 10 - 1
-Qualifying: 9 - 2
-Starting position average: 9 - 12
-Finished higher in races: 8 - 2
-Points: 56 - 45 (Thanks to Ocon smashing Perez into the wall!)

So, the only focus of the Frenchman has become defeating Perez, because he can't get behind by any means of the under-performing Williams of Massa, the Renault of Hulkenberg, the Toro Rosso of Sainz and the McLaren of Alonso; and I mentioned specific drivers because all the team-mates of those drivers are dreadful this year, so you've got less cars to worry about.

This is a fabricated rivalry by the Frenchman and those who tutored him, acknowledging that the distance between the teams is such, that the only one you can beat and polemicise with, is your team-mate, trying to veil the statistics. Numbers which are crystal clear against you...

21

If Ocon doesn't get stuck in a Force India rut like other drivers before him I can see him being a multi champ. As much as I like Perez I think he won't get a top drive unfortunately.

22

Same of RB, IMO.
There is an infant terrible driver an a veteran that must demonstrate to be the bigger man.
I think it was a terrible decision of Perez to not let L'Ocon go in Canada.
Drivers that don't respect team orders has no place in top teams.
Perez is faster than L'Ocon in qualy, but a very shallow margin.
On the other hand, I think L'Ocon was holding back Perez at Silverstone.
So its "do as I say, not do as I do" in FIndia.
L'Ocon has +1 year of contract w/ FIndia, so I don't think Perez will stay.
Depends about who buys FIndia, if its sold.

23

@Axel K -- your point is well taken. McLaren saw enough to have enough after just one year. Attitude seems to be a big player in that driver's case as displayed in Canada where not that long ago he stuffed it into FM and has had similar issues in other situations:

"in Canada, when, controversially, the team couldn’t convince Perez to swap place with Ocon for a likely podium finish over the slowing Daniel Ricciardo in front.

In this case of comparing one driver with another, would give the nod to Ocon. He shows as more of a sportsman (attitude) with continuing improvement over a much shorter career which will, most likely, carry him right on by if that curve remains operative.

24

I think McLaren made a mistake, there. Two, actually - he probably wasn't ready when they signed him and he arrived after a very poor end to 2012 as a result. By the end of 2013, he was on a level with Button and I think was only dropped because of Ron's personal investment in Kevin Magnussen's career. Don't forget that Ron wanted to dump Button and keep Magnussen for 2015. The McLaren Board overruled him, but it was definitely a case of heart over head for Ron.

25

Perez stock went down with his ill fated year with Mclaren, he failed to shape up against the perennially underrated Button. He is a better driver now than then and the car was poor that year but the damage was done. It's harsh but he will be another Trulli / Fisichella, a good driver that blew their chance in a decent team.

26

I wouldn't be surprised if politics played a role in promoting KMag into that Mclaren seat. Remember how hard Mclaren worked to get Perez the FI drive afterwards?

27

I bet the likes of Renault & Red Bull would love to know how Force India achieve such excellent reliability. OK the engine is a big factor, but unlike FI they've both had multiple non-engine failures.

28

FI has reliable drivers.

29

Aah Force India once again surprise the fans just like 2016 because when the 2017 cars were launched, the car didn't look very nice with the forehead so we thought it would be off the pace

And yes, the best decision Force India ever made was to get the Mercedes engine as shown by the team's surprise pole at Spa 2009

Regards the battle between Perez and Ocon, it's another reason why the 2017 is a classic season for the fans as it gives us a battle to keep an eye on in the mid-field.

And yes, Ocon has done a good job to hang onto Perez's coattails unfortunately for Ocon, Perez is a midfield superstar who is famous for clinching impossible podiums thanks to different strategy play and good skills keeping the tyres alive

So no, I doubt Ocon will ever get the better of Perez because Perez is that good but it will be fun seeing Ocon try

Overall, it's good seeing a success story in midfield with Force India getting new sponsors and more income from the constructor's so more good luck to the team.

30

All true, but I think the team deserve a bit more credit than that. They've never been over ambitious and have been quick to grasp opportunities, like realising they'd get better bang for their buck by favouring a high-efficiency (rather than maximum downforce) aero philosophy in conjunction with that powerful Mercedes engine. They've got a good set of racers staffing the team and Vijay has a good sense of when to steer and when to leave them to it.

31

@ Kenny Carwash

Good point

32

@ Goferet....I doubt that Ocon will ever get the better of perez etc etc'. I wouldn't be so sure. I have been impressed by Ocon both in his driving and his general demeanour. IMO the lad has what it takes to move ahead once he gets some more hard experience under his belt. Whereas Perez does no impress me at all. Yes, he is a consistent mid field battler, but it is interesting to note that AFAIK, no big team has made him any offers! He is also said to suffer from a 'sense of entitlement' way above his natural place in the general F1 order of things. I guess that having the 'Slim ' team behind you would support this theory. The last few races this year will, hopefully, result in more super drives from Ocon.

33

@kenneth
You know Kenneth, apart from the Hamilton thing, I find I agree with you on nearly everthing👍🏻. Your post replicates my opinion aswell. Well expressed.

34

you're right ocon doesn't only have the smiles but i great driver too..

35

@ kenneth

Certainly Ocon may move ahead to a top team more so as he is in the Mercedes young driver's program

However, Ocon has all the traits of a number 2 driver so this is the role he will play in my view.

As for Perez, it would appear he got tainted in the paddock when Mclaren determinated his contract hence why no top team has approached him for a contract

36

'best pound-for-pound team", I've been writing it for a while, with the Nico/Checko pairing.
they continue with it, with the Checko/Ocon pairing; great team!
As written before, 4th is as high as one can expect, as long as RB, Merc, and Ferr are in the sport.

I don't mean to under-represent Perez, he clearly is in the top half of drivers on the current grid and well-deserving of a spot. But much like the RB situation, he's on a team wioth the next generation of superstars, Ocon and The Max are there, as would be Sainz if he could stay out of trouble (if he's getting into more trouble than The Max, then... it's a problem)

If I was a team principle of Mercedes or Ferrari, I would sign Ocon, definitelyt for 2019, if not sooner; he's got the speed of The Max, but none of the ... nasty habits.
I look forward to seeing him in the proper equipment; if Kimi HAS to go, I'd like to see Ocon in Red, but they have a really, really good prospect; one way or another, they'll have a 'French' driver at Ferrari in 2019.

37

Ocon is a Mercedes driver. Doubt that they would let him go to Ferrari.

38

@ Dean Cassady....'Verstappen has 'nasty habits'. Surely you're poking the bear there..prepare for some flying clogs.

39

ken:
as you likely know, I had quite an issue with the swerving in the braking zone (especially when it was Kimi), and I know that there is a lot of internet trolling ... supporting his purportde superstardom/can do no wrong, notwithstanding, I know he is a phenomenon, and on his current trajectory, has as strong a chance as any 19 year... ever, of winning a WDC, but he IS getting into a bit of $#!+ now, ain't he?
As you well know, I saw no problem with him punting ric, beyond an unfortunately racing incident.
Did he do it on purpose?
I'll never know, even if he told me his side personally, neither will you, or anyone else for that matter; ... and therefore.... (a witch!! ... no wrong line) a racing incident, and much, much less dangerous than swerving in the braking zone, which didn't get ANY penalty.

Yeah, I think Ocon is a similar phenom, with (so far) much less incidents per race. whether one judges them to be someone, or another's fault less relevant from an objective empiracal stand point.

It is what it is.

40

Ocon level with Perez? He is about 5 inches taller!

41

Bingo, Ocon is lucky that FI are used to designing a car for the different physical stature of their drivers eg; Hulkenburg who is 2cm shorter than Ocon. But what happens when the designer decides that in order to improve next year's car performance that a smaller cockpit is required and/or the weight needs to be distributed elsewhere? That's when Ocon will run into the Vettel/Weber situation where the car is built around the little guy and the big can just live with it. Even if his extra height, say, affects the engine's air inlet.

42

I think that the FIA have rules on cockpit size to make sure that taller drivers can be accommodated. Just as well or some enterprising teams might offer employment to, and i must be careful here, maybe former employees of Snow White to save a good few KGs!

43

Would I sign Perez? No. He's scoring points in a reliable car but I don't see a spark or the racecraft of a top driver.

I would however sign Ocon (and possibly Sainz!), he seems to have got to grips with F1 although Force India must be massively congratulated for what they've already achieved this year, especially after such success last year.

No where for Perez to go (top teams staying the same by the looks) so FI can wait on a contract for him.

Where is the long term future for Ocon? I find it hard to remember which teams/managers drivers are linked to from their junior days!

44

@dan
Ocon is linked to Merc.

45

Cheers James K.

Makes sense with FI engine supply, but it does limit Ocon's further progress as you could argue there's only the Works seats that are better and they won't be up for some time, unless Merc try the Red Bull approach.

46

last driver to pull out the best from SAUBER & still doing it now at force india?

47

Sorry to say this, but I think Perez is a fading star. There's to much young talent waiting in the wings. I really like Ocon. 1 year in F1, and he's putting the heat on Perez all ready. Looking forward to see how Ocon develops in the next half of this season. But I think Perez should be worried, if he isn't all ready😉

48

Fast drivers are fast out of the gate: Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Verstappen. It was easy to tell they were special, even in less competitive cars. Either Perez is a top talent and as such so is Ocon, or both are just good standard F1 fair.

49

@dren
Maybe your right🤔 but I have the feeling Ocon is gonna pull ahead in the 2nd half of the season.

50

I think you can say the same for Grosjean and Hulkenberg - drivers probably quick enough for the top teams, but who just haven't been able to convince them to put pen to paper. Hulkenberg has gambled his career on Renault being able to get back to the front and you have to wonder whether the others won't come to regret not being similarly drastic instead of hanging out in the midfield and waiting for a top team to come knocking.

51

Do people even read the article at all?!

All the numbers are heavily in the side of Perez...

Ocon is right behind Perez because the rest of the midfield are under performing, the Frenchman has no threat at all from Williams, Toro Rosso and Reanult. Force India are ahead by 60 points.

Reality is far different from what you wish it to be!

52

@coppilcus
If people hadn't read the article, then they wouldn't comment.
But your right in the point that all stats lean over to Perez.
My point is... I think it will go in Ocons favor in the next half of the season.

53

@ james...very well said. I agree.

54

Brilliant job by Force India.
Since the don't have any one close 3rd or 5th, the comparison is showing close results. However Ocon has done a great job in his 1st full year and will develop. Perez still leading in all caregories

55

"and a possible fight with Red Bull for third in 2018"

Why ? What will be different in 2018 ? Have I missed something ?

I would suggest that, instead of moving up to third, it is actually more likely that they will lose their fourth position to someone like Williams or Toro or maybe even McLaren.

56

I see Renalt and Mclaren making big gains next year. TR and Williams aren't going anywhere.

57

I would be very surprised if Red Bull didn't cruise away from them in the latter part of the season as they get their car in order.

58

Force India is a team that is difficult to dislike. Regardless of all the noise in the background involving the team owner, they have managed to keep in touch with much more established and wealthier teams. That in itself is quite an achievement.
I would love to see a french driver do well in F1, so l am certainly bias toward Ocon in that matchup, yet I feel Ocon has shown to have plenty of what is required to dream of a better future in the sport, something that seems less likely for his teammate. Perez is probably not a top talent but is surely a solid driver, while Perez has easily topped Ocon overall so far, I expect the second part of the season to be much more of a challenge for him to remain in that position. At the end Ocon needs to beat Perez this year and if he does, he will leap over Perez into a better seat. Marc

59

I'm not so sure Ocon *needs* to beat Perez this year, though it would feel unfair if he didn't and still got a promotion.

Agree with you about French drivers. Ocon and Leclerc have major potential.

60

@comete
Well written👍 couldn't agree more.

61

I agree; FI is just a damn good racing team all around.

62

It's just a pity that they are so damn ugly!

63

I don't think the guys are that ugly... Oh, wait, you mean the cars, right? Whats wrong with pink eh?

64

Perez is a great driver, I think he deserves a chance in a major team, but will not get it since its just not that attractive, there are too many youngsters in ferrari and mercedes waiting in the line, not to mention RB,,,, so his chances are the same as Alonso, maclaren, williams or renault, but any of those teams is better than FI just now, so he might stay there and try to do an extra effort to lets say win some races maybe...

Ocon its not better than Perez yet, but it has a clear/better path to follow, so he just need to focus and wait...

A shame Perez has made bad decisions, but its a great driver.

65

Not for me. He's in that second tier of f1 drivers but is nowhere near good enough to get into that top tier alongside Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Riccardio etc. And even at that I'd put the likes of Hulkenberg and Sainz ahead of him.

66

I still wouldn't count verstapen on that list either, yes he has the potential, but hasnt acomplish anything yet to be on the same list has ALO, HAM or VET....

but yes, I agree with you that PER is on the same level as HUL and SAI, I never said he is like a WDC already, but that he deserves the chance to be in a top team already because of what he has shown.... at least one chance... then he would demostrate wheter worth or not, but anyhow I also think he already blow that opportunity by

1. past fail going to mclaren
2. recently demostrate his unwilling to be team player

but he still deserve a chance, really difficult due to the lot of new talent on the market, so thats why I said that his posibilities are like Alonso's, williams, renault, mclaren.

67

It's an interesting situation all-round at Force India, what with the repositioning/rebranding of the team itself already in the air. On the driver front, I've been very impressed by Ocon and you have to wonder one of the front-running teams will be banging on his door in a year or two. I'm a big fan of Checo - not only does he always deliver, but he's also capable of producing results that the car isn't capable of on paper. In my eyes, that's something that elevates him above very good drivers who just deliver, like Nico Rosberg. However, Checo gets a bit too punchy when he's under pressure and 2017 hasn't quite been vintage Perez so far. He's having to race Ocon hard and he feels he deserves a better contract, but I sense he's also a bit wounded that the rumoured Ferrari drive hasn't materialised.

F1 has three 'nearly men' at the moment: Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Perez. Hulkenberg has thrown his lot in with Renault, which is a gamble but probably what he needed to do. There has been some talk of Perez moving to Williams, but I think it's much more likely that he'll sign a more lucrative one-year deal with Force India in the hope that the Ferrari seat is up for grabs in 2019.

Grosjean is the subject of the most interesting rumour I've heard recently, which is that Williams are considering him. This makes a lot of sense for all concerned - while Romain and the Haas team get on well, it's clear he's not comfortable with the way their car brakes and that's taking the edge off his performances. With Kevin Magnussen now starting to look like a driver the team can rely on, Grosjean's departure would pave the way for Ferrari to place either Leclerc or Giovinazzi at Haas in return for discounted (Alfa Romeo-badged) power units. Meanwhile, Williams would no doubt be interested in a faster driver than Felipe Massa to lead the team while Lance Stroll continues to develop. He'd also probably be a good bit cheaper than Sergio Perez, and likely to find both the Williams car and its points-scoring chances more to his liking. It could happen, I think.

The other big piece of the jigsaw is Carlos Sainz. Several seats seem to hinge on whether he's at Toro Rosso or Renault next year. I suspect Kvyat has only been kept on as insurance and if Sainz stays put, they'll demote him for Gasly. Williams' Martini sponsorship means he can't go there, but Force India might use him to apply downward pressure on Perez's wage demands. Renault is probably his most likely destination still, but there's still a lot of uncertainty. What if they decide to take a chance on Kubica? What if Honda want to put Matsushita in a race seat as part of their deal with Toro Rosso? What if Ferrari throw a spanner in the works by tempting Rosberg back to the sport? It's the most exciting silly season in years.

68

Good post. I definitely would like to see Gasly given a chance in F1. He deserves it, and seems to have a great attitude. Also, his performance in the Formula E championship a few weeks ago where he out-performed a highly experienced Prost (never thought I'd ever say that) was very impressive.

Grosjean is an interesting story. Part of me feels that he would be among the standouts this season if he had a car that performed better for his driving style. Unfortunately his penchant for whinging generally doesn't help him, at least from a PR perspective.

69

Cheaper than Perez?

Perez has always brought big bucks to teams. That's why McLaren took him to start with!

70

When did FI sign Tom Cruise?

71

ocon would've carried on his number status if ocon hadn't called him a mug by not letting him through to fight further afield..and force india weren't strong enough to ask perez to move aside..
perez has nowhere to go now especially after everyone now know that he can't keep his relatively inexperienced teammate bake... he committed a career suicide right there..

72
Tornillo Amarillo

James, is Lawrence Stroll buying in Force India?

Is there a possibility that Lance replaces Perez in 2018?

73
Tornillo Amarillo

From me full support to Ocon as always!

Perez never won, so he needs to impress the big teams and he is failing there, why he is not in line with the big teams, like Bottas was to replace Rosberg, which is his weak treat, does somebody know?

74

I thought Baju was all Perez' fault. He even said, but as a complaint, that Ocon had got the pass in the bag on the way in. Normally the driver gives way in those circumstances.

Coming up to a 1-width corner the drivers kind of negotiate, and one gives way, but Perez left his car in there just being awkward.

75

Just think ... if Perez had let Ocon go ahead in Canada, then at the next race in Baku when Perez was quicker, he could have stayed ahead and won the race, instead of being winless through 128 races. What goes around comes around.

76

One can tell that Ocon is getting to Perez. The latter's "unintelligent" remark about him - regarding the Baku incident - was just petulant, I felt. Made more so when he pulled a similar move in Hungary.

Does anyone else feel that Perez is starting to get rude about the whole thing?

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