Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez, Force India, 2018

Mallya wants to keep Ocon and Perez for 2019

2019 F1 season

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Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya says he wants to keep the team’s current Formula 1 driver line-up next year.

Esteban Ocon is in his second season at the team alongside Sergio Perez, who has driven for Force India since 2014.

The pair had an often fraught relationship in their first year together last season. They clashed on several occasions, prompting the team to forbid them from racing each other.

However Mallya told RaceFans he is hopeful of retaining them for next year.

“I want to,” he said. “I’m very happy with them. They seem to be very happy with us, and basically, you know, unless they get offers that they cannot refuse, I would be surprised if they didn’t stay with us.”

Force India’s future has been a focus of speculation due to Mallya’s ongoing legal problems. Mallya stepped down as the team’s managing director in May.

However he said loyalty to the team among its staff remains high.

“We are a very tight-knit unit,” he said. “The last two years, as you well know, we have been punching well above our weight, finishing fourth in the world championship two years running. It has certainly caught everybody’s attention.

“There have been efforts that I know of to poach our people, but they have refused and they have stayed, because they like our culture and the environment.”

Read our full exclusive interview with Vijay Mallya tomorrow on RaceFans

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Mallya wants to keep Ocon and Perez for 2019”

  1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    17th July 2018, 12:18

    While I wanted Russell to go to Force India, these two are great drivers. Unfortunately it looks like Perez has missed his chance of going to Ferrari, which is a shame, I feel he would have done well there, possibly won a few races, that McLaren year screwed over his career I feel. I think he’ll see off the rest of his career with FI. They’ll probably keep Ocon until he moves to Mercedes which I hope he does, he’s got loads of talents and hopefully Mercedes make use of that.

  2. @vettelfan17 – I agree with all of that comment, these are probably the two best drivers for Force India at the moment and while they are struggling this year a bit compared to the past few its probably the best option for the drivers as well. Ocon will certainly end up and Mercedes in the next year or two and yes, unfortunately looks like Checo will miss on that chance of a top drive like Hulkenburg will also.

    1. @garns ”unfortunately looks like Checo will miss on that chance of a top drive like Hulkenburg will also.”
      – Checo possibly, yes, but Hulkenberg too early to jump to definite conclusions as he unlike his former teammate is driving in a team that has the potential to become a top team again due to being a full manufacturer team.

      1. @jerejj Hi Jere- yes that’s true, The Hulk made that move maybe thinking a drive at the top three was maybe now closed off so made the gamble with Renault. I think that was a smart move as he didn’t have anywhere to go higher and it had some fiscal benefits, which is always nice :)

        It would be great if a 4th team come into play and started winning a few races. Force India has had a couple of chances for an outside win but never got there.

    2. Ocons Not going to Merc he blew that chance once he got into fight with perez, merc don’t want a driver that’s been fighting with his teammates, also Ocon isn’t much better if at all to Perez so he wouldn’t be an upgrade to bottas

  3. Pity I wish Ocon could move up, except the available higher options are closed shut.

    1. Ocon will get his chance soon, the young kid is that good and maybe as good as Max, yet he got opportunities a bit earlier, that’s how it goes.

      Looks like Mercedes have closed off Ricciardo at this stage so in my thoughts its Bottas for a year or two (which would be a shame, I like Bottas and hope he does well) or Lewis is really chasing a music career and they need Ocon to drive with Bottas.

      Any thoughts?

      1. It seems to me that the Hamilton Bottas partnership can continue for quite a while; and I don’t see Lewis going for music unless Merc drop way down. Which is a shame for Ocon; that’s why he could be set for a switch to Renault… And yes, I do believe he’s of Max’s caliber.

  4. Yeah he said the same at the principals press conference nearly 2 weeks ago.

    Great article.

  5. califormula1fan
    17th July 2018, 19:29

    From what I’ve seen, I believe Occon would beat Bottas regularly in equivalent cars, which means, if the world were fair and objective, Occon should take the second seat at Mercedes. Wouldn’t that be a great start to the next generation of battles, Verstappen, Le Clerc and Occon all fighting to be the next champions? But the world isn’t fair and objective. At this point in time, it looks like Mercedes will keep Hamilton and Bottas, Ferrari will have Vettel and Le Clerc, and RedBull will have Ricciardo and Verstappen. Force India will keep Occon and Perez, Haas may (should) replace Grossjean with Raikonnen (if he wants to keep driving) and keep Magnussen, TorroRosso should go back to the well and call up some FP2 and/or FP3 drivers that show promise, Sauber should keep Ericsson and also bring up a new FP2 or FP3 driver, Williams have to keep Stroll and Sirotkin for the money (boo!) and McLaren will keep Alonso and Van Doorne, assuming Alonso wants to stay, if Alonso leaves, then there is good chance that Raikonnen would take the opportunity, although, Kimi would probably do better to go to Haas with the Ferrari engine.

    So I think there are three drivers without rides, two that may walk away, and three to five seats for comebacks/new faces.

  6. One can only hope that one of the top drivers pulls a Rosberg and retires unexpectedly.

    Otherwise we’re in for quite a few years more with a log jam of talent.

    The only possibility that exists is that some of the lower teams may adopt the RBR/STR philosophy and turn over drivers that miss the mark (even talented ones) in favour of new talent. That could see Grosjean, Vandoorne, Ericsson, Hartley, Stroll and Sirotkin out and replaced but for many of these the teams have to keep them for commercial reasons.

    Unfortunately that is and always has been the nature of F1

  7. Since a man can dream, I hope Ocon goes to Mercedes. There he could take on the 2 GOTG + Max and Charles as well.

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