It’s difficult to know the exact reason Esteban Ocon was chosen over Pascal Wehrlein for the Force India seat in 2017 but according to a report at Autosport, perhaps it was a personal issue rather than a performance issue with regards to Pascal’s missed opportunity.
“I learned a lot on track but there’s also a lot to learn off the track,” Wehrlein said.
“Probably I was underrating that.
“In terms of driving, there were so many new tracks for me, the tyres were new for me, Pirelli tyres, and a new team so there were so many things for me to learn.
“But now on track I’m 100% sure that everything is getting better and easier.
“From the first to the second year the step is always the biggest step you make in your career.
“Off the track I will try more and I’m sure I can improve something as well.”
It’s an interesting comment and one that would take some context to know the intent. According to the report, it was felt that he would not have integrated with the team as well as Ocon would.
At this level, those are big issues but it is unclear as to what, exactly, may not have gelled as well at Force India. There’s no doubt that Mercedes rate Ocon as a good driver but it has equally been interesting to see Wehrlein’s progression or lack thereof.
I rate Pascal as a handy driver and I think it’s difficult to shine in a manor but I fear he may be orphaned on the F1 grid should Mercedes not select him to take Nico Rosberg’s vacant seat. It’s his big chance to move up and if missed, it may be his last chance in F1.
Hat Tip: Autosport