Force India has begun talks to extend Sergio Perez’s contract beyond this tear.
Having been heavily linked with a Renault move last year leaving it till October to confirm his stay at Force India.
“We have already commenced talks with him for the renewal of his contract,” said Vijay Mallya (Force India team boss). “When I have to take a new driver I like to leave it late, when I returning a driver I like to do it early.
“Checo is a highly talented and experienced driver. There’s no question about that and I’m glad Esteban is pushing him.”
However, with seats ay Mercedes and Ferrari potentially being up for grabs Mallya said he would not block his drivers moving to a top team.
“I like to believe that my drivers are happy in this team, We give them a good car to race. If there is a Mercedes or a Ferrari seat, they’ll obviously jump at the opportunity.
“I’m not going to stand in their way but other than that I think we have the best car. We give them an atmosphere where they are comfortable, they enjoy the team, their colleagues and they enjoy working together. What’s the reason to move?”
He also said that Ocon who joined after doing 9 races in 2016 had impressed in his debut season.
“Esteban has come up to speed really well and is quicker than I thought – it’s fantastic,” he said. “We had a tough call to make over the winter about who our driver was going to be.
“There were only rookies available and I think we made the right choice. He’s only going to mature and get better. You know that experience is hugely important, and the more experience he gets the better he’s going to become.
“He has the talent, which has showed already. I’m happy we have him signed up on a multi-year contract, so I’m expecting regular point-scoring finishes from him.”