Testing Palmer, Ocon and Wehrlein to help Force India decision

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Force India's decision of who to replace Nico Hulkenberg next season will be helped by testing a number of candidates in the past.

Hulkenberg was released from his contract in order to join Renault in 2017, with Force India now looking for a partner for Sergio Perez. Deputy team principal Bob Fernley says the team has plenty of data having tested a number of candidates in the past, with Joylon Palmer, Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein all in the frame.

“Yeah, we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve been able to look at Jolyon in the past, we’ve looked at Esteban Ocon in the past, Pascal Wehrlein in the past," Fernley told F1i. "But there’s old data and we need our team to sit down and look at what the data is today. We can only do that when we’ve got away from the racing program and they've got a clean desk to work on.”

Fernley also named Felipe Nasr as a driver on the team's shortlist, and says the team will not be forced into making a decision by Renault also looking to secure its second driver.

“We have to take that risk. At the end of the day you don’t rush into something that is a major decision like this."

Adding that a rookie driver would be "very unlikely", Fernley says ensuring Perez has a team-mate who will get the best out of the Mexican is also one of the team's priorities.

“We will look at making sure that we compliment him. The idea will be to make sure that we continue to push Checo, because obviously he’s the dominant force at the moment however we look at it and we need to continue that.”


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