Esteban Ocon is “a superstar of the future,” said Merc Boss Toto Wolff, following a strong start by the former with Force India in his first full season of Formula One.
Ocon drove to sixth place in Canada, which could have been even higher had Force India teammate Sergio Perez attacked third-placed Daniel Ricciardo at a critical point in the race. In 2015, Ocon was signed by Wolff after the former emerged champion over Max Verstappen at the European Formula 3 the past season. Wolff also supported Ocon throughout his GP3 campaign.
Wolff sees the 20-year-old protégée will go places in the sport.
Following the Canada race, Wolff said, “Force India could have done many more points.”
“He did a great race. Really fantastic for his first season. He’s developing just in the right way, he’s going to be a superstar of the future.”
After racing with fellow Mercedes driver Pascal Wehrlein for the second half of the 2016 season, Force India chose Ocon, who has been at once competitive and has come close to Perez’s time, one which Ocon has been closing up on every weekend.
Team chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer views Ocon’s fast start with Force India as a catalyst for their hopes of gaining fourth position in the championship.
“It’s one of the reasons we chose him. It’s hard to predict the future but we’re happy he’s done what we thought he could do.”
“We’ve got two drivers that can work together and now they’re close together which means they’ll be pushing each other. We had that with Nico [Hulkenberg] and Sergio and we were a little unsure with Esteban, we thought, but he’s quickly gotten up to speed now and that will just push both of them forward.”