Mercedes-back Esteban Ocon has had an interesting ride enroute to his Formula One career, making the move to Force India in 2017 after a 2016 of two halves for the Frenchman.
He had a slow start in his racing career, starting in 2012 with Koiranen in Formula Renault. Only finishing in 14th place in the championship with a single podium he made the move to successful ART in 2013 in the same series. That was more successful, finishing third which was him drive at Macau for the first time.
The move to the ever popular for ‘new generation’ drivers Formula 3 for 2014 saw him with the championship at his first attempt with Prema, another super-team in the lower formulae, winning with a round to spare and gaining an association with the Lotus team.
The Frenchman would head back to ART for 2015, and race in the Formula One supporting GP3 series. Once again it was a series in which he had a convincing win, it certainly got the eyes of Mercedes who snapped him up as a junior driver, testing for both Force India and Lotus – both at the time Mercedes customers.
The start of the new 2016 saw Esteban Ocon effectively loaned to the new works Renault team as their official test driver, alongside a DTM drive where he would drive for Mercedes. He did have a great run of form though, and was released after his secured the drive to see out the season as a race drive at Manor, replacing Rio Haryanto after his funding stopped.
That of course meant that his was paired with fellow Mercedes youngster Pascal Wehrlein, and immediately settled into the team with an impressive series of drives including nearly scoring at point in Brazil before fading away.
With an opportunity available at Force India, both drivers were put forwards for the 2017 seat, one which Ocon won against Wehrlein, with Ocon well liked at the team.