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F1 Abu Dhabi GP: Ocon outlines 2017 targets with Force India

Esteban Ocon is confident he can fight for podiums with Force India next season if next year's car is up to the task.
Esteban Ocon says if Force India can match its performance and place in the F1 pecking order from 2016 into next season he will target 'podiums and points all the time'.

The French driver has signed a two-year deal with Force India under the blessing from Mercedes and will replace Renault-bound Nico Hulkenberg as Sergio Perez's team-mate.

Ocon, who only joined the F1 grid as a full-time driver for Manor halfway through 2016, has remained cautious of predicting goals for 2017 but feels if the Silverstone-based squad can maintain its current form as a top four team then he is confident of hunting a minimum of the top ten finish in every race.

“We don't know how the other teams are going to perform, we don't even know how we are going to perform,” Ocon said. “So let's see where everybody is. We will have a first taste in Barcelona, but if the car performs as good or better than this year then for sure we will want podiums and points all the time.”

Having acted as F1 test driver for Lotus in 2014, Force India in 2015 and both Mercedes and Renault this year before stepping up to a race seat at Manor, Ocon is well aware of the lengthy and meticulous preparations ahead of him to be up to speed next season.

“I will do everything I can to get the best result possible,” he said. “Everything they ask of me I will do it, and even more. I will be in the factory a lot, doing a lot of simulator work. We've already spoken about that and agreed. Without hard work it can't work.

“On experience, I've been driving a Formula 1 car since 2014, been around the paddock since then so I feel like I am prepared enough for this chance.”

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