Ocon was selected as Nico Hulkenberg's replacement last week, moving from Manor to partner Sergio Perez in 2017. Having had the same driver line-up for the past three seasons, Fernley says Ocon's arrival should provide Force India with a boost and keep Perez on his toes.
“We’re going to be sorry to see Nico go because he’s been a great driver for us over the years, so there’s no question there," Fernley told F1i. "But we’re very excited about Esteban coming in. He’s a young talent who could really liven up things.
“You can’t ignore what he’s achieved in his relatively short career, and we’ve tested him so we know what we’re doing and we think there’s just that little bit of spark there that hopefully can lift him through to put a lot of pressure on Checo.”
With Fernley referencing the tests Force India ran Ocon in last season, the deputy team principal insists the team has worked well with all drivers it has tested recently having also run Pascal Wehrlein and Jolyon Palmer.
“Yeah, but we work well with all drivers in all fairness, we’ve not had any issue with any of them, we just felt it was very, very tight but there was a slight edge there.”