Sergio Perez says he is looking forward to welcoming a new team-mate to the Force India fold after Esteban Ocon was confirmed for the 2017 F1 season.
After making his F1 debut with Manor Racing mid-way through the 2016 season, Ocon will replace the Renault-bound Nico Hulkenberg at Force India next season, pairing up with Perez who will be entering into his fourth season with the Silverstone-based outfit.
Far from being wary of the arrival of the young Frenchman – whose career is being managed by Mercedes – Perez is relishing the opportunity to step into a more defined team leader role and is happy to be involved in integrating him.
“I will be open to learn from him and if he is the same, it is up to him. If he wants to learn, I will be totally open as I have been with all of my team-mates. I just want to obviously beat him but work together a lot for the team. I think that is very important and it has worked really well the last few years with Nico and myself, pushing each other on track, but off track always helping the team to go forward.”
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Indeed, Perez says he expects Ocon to be a formidable team-mate based on the feedback of Force India's engineers, saying he is prepared to learn from the former European F3 and GP3 champion.
“Everything that I heard about him was very impressive. The team was very impressed and enthusiastic. They really liked his personality - the way he interacts with the team, the feedback he gives and he is meant to be very easy to work with. The team was always very happy when they spoke about him.
“I had three great years with Nico and I learn a lot from him and now I look forward to learning a lot from Esteban. It is always good to learn things from different drivers. I have been very lucky to have very talented drivers next to me and so now having Esteban, it is a great opportunity to learn new things from a young driver.”
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