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Perez wants to "work together" with Ocon during "massive year"

Written by  Mar 05, 2018

Sergio Perez is hoping he and Force India teammate Esteban Ocon can continue to "work together" during what he considers a "massive year" for the team.

Last year the two drivers had to be banned from racing each other on track following a spate of incidents, notably in Baku and Belgium that despite a remarkable year which saw them score double points in 16 of the 20 races, a record only beaten by Mercedes.

In 2018, however, their fourth place in the constructors' standings is under much greater threat with McLaren and Renault set to step up, as well as other midfield rivals such as Williams and Toro Rosso.

Looking ahead to the new season, the team orders introduced are being dropped and Perez hopes to build on the relationship which emerged after the controversy.

“The good thing was how we finished last year and how we ended it working together,” the Mexican told ESPN.

“That is the same approach we have to go into this year with as it is very important that we keep working together, keep working hard for the benefit of the team. Especially at this stage of the season.

"It is going to be a massive year for Force India as there are big teams coming and big teams that are going to push us very hard. I believe it is going to be a hard year for us.”

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The fight to be the number one within the Silverstone outfit is still very important, however, with Perez seeing his chances at a top drive disappearing while Ocon has to continue proving he is worthy of being Mercedes' top young driver.

“You never stop learning in F1 and he is going to have more experience but it is always good to have a competitive teammate next to you," the former McLaren driver claimed.

“I believe that I will get better as well so it will be a hard battle but in F1 your first reference is your teammate and I believe Esteban is a good one to have.”

Force India could also be set for a big change off the track, with a new name possible before Melbourne and rumours of new ownership also still rumbling.

Now, the Daily Express is claiming the £200m takeover by British drinks company Rich Energy reported around a week ago could go ahead as soon as this week.

“F1 is the perfect platform for the brand, motorsport is all about a fast, glamorous lifestyle. It works for Red Bull,” founder and chief executive William Storey was quoted as saying. 

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