Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon has tipped his former Racing Point team to be able to close up the gap that the dominant teams have over the midfield regulars. Ocon raced for the team under the guise of Force India when he switched to the team in 2017, but has been replaced by Canadian and outgoing Williams driver Lance Stroll for this season.
Force India went into administration last season prior to the summer break but was saved by a consortium of investors headed by Lance's father Lawrence. Despite losing his seat at the team because of this, Ocon believes that the resources now available to the team will allow them to make a major step forward.
"It is a massive gap to fill but they will make a step forward, that's for sure." Ocon told Autosport. "Resources have always been the issue, and there will be less of this issue in 2019. I believe they will be strong contenders."
Force India managed a best finish of fourth in the constructors' title in 2016 and 2017 beating a back to form Williams team on both occasions. Despite a whole new entry required to race under the Racing Point Force India name from last years' Belgian Grand Prix, the team still finished ahead of Toro Rosso, Sauber and rivals Williams in the championship.
"They are hungry. That makes the difference. I was very impressed by the professionalism of the team and the motivation they have for results. That's why we are so competitive on-track, even when we don't have the resources. Probably now with the resources it's going to be a lot easier for them."