Esteban Ocon believes that Force India can finish fourth in the constructors’ championship once again, despite increased pressure from the likes of Renault and McLaren.

After joining the team on loan from Mercedes, Ocon impressed alongside his more experienced teammate Sergio Perez, and together the pair helped Force India secure fourth place in the constructors’ championship for a second straight year.

“It is the target to be fourth again, and to get closer to the top three teams definitely,” said Ocon.

“Force India has surprised for many years and I think we can do it once more. With the budget that we have, what we achieved last year was quite remarkable. We had very strong pace and we were fourth [in the constructors’ championship], quite far ahead of everyone else.

“What we were doing was already great, and the target now is to get closer to the top three.”

Images: Octane Photographic

Speaking to the Force India website, Ocon says that staying with Force India for a second consecutive season means he can feel fully prepared to go into the first race in Melbourne.

“I’m feeling happy, relaxed and confident ahead of the new season. I know the team very well by now and those strong, established relationships really make a difference, he explained.

“It’s the first time in my career that I’ve stayed in the same team two years in a row so it’s a new experience for me. At the start of last year, I had to learn everything almost from zero, but I’m already up to speed now, which will help.”

Ocon added that while has happy with his overall performance last year, he has his sights set on bigger targets this year. Notably, a first podium finish in F1.

“I always want to improve so it’s important to aim even higher in 2018. I’ve done 29 races in Formula One and I learned a huge amount last year. I know all the circuits, I know my team very well, and I have a better understanding of the details involved in Formula One.,” he said.

“I was disappointed to miss out on a podium last year, so that’s definitely one of my goals for 2018.”