Date: 11 November 2016 18:46
Baku, November 11, AZERTAC
Esteban Ocon will join Force India for his first full-time campaign in Formula 1 in 2017, the team has announced, according to Motorsport.
Ocon, 20, will take the seat vacated by Renault-bound Nico Hulkenberg, partnering up with Sergio Perez.
A former European F3 and GP3 champion, Ocon drove Force India's VJM08 in the Barcelona pre-season test and the Red Bull Ring mid-season test in 2015.
He started 2016 as Renault test driver and a Mercedes race driver in the DTM, and then made his F1 grand prix debut in August's Belgian Grand Prix, having taken over Rio Haryanto's Manor seat for the second half of the season.
In the statement, Force India has outlined Ocon's deal as a multi-year contract, saying the Frenchman would be part of the outfit in "2017 and beyond".
“I’m very excited to join Force India," Ocon said.
For much of the season, Ocon was regarded as a likely favourite to race for Renault in 2016, before Hulkenberg's move left a seat vacant at the Mercedes-powered Force India outfit.
It is believed that Ocon's long-term contract with Mercedes eventually put Renault off signing the Frenchman for 2017, the manufacturer eventually picking Jolyon Palmer instead.