Jolyon Palmer believes that Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon displayed remarkable dedication and resilience earlier this summer in the face of very difficult times.
Force India team boss Otmar Szafnauer recently revealed that the pink squad was literally days away from folding before it was taken into administration and subsequently saved thanks to a consortium of investors led by Lawrence Stroll.
The period preceding the team’s entrance into administration was undoubtedly a troubled time for all its members, and mainly marked by uncertainty. As the unsettled outfit continued to focus on its racing, it proved once again its mettle, says Palmer, and the steely character of its drivers.
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“The whole season must have been uncomfortable for Perez and Ocon. We now know how close Force India were to collapse, and being in a team on the precipice is a horrible situation for a driver to have to perform in,” Palmer wrote in his post-GP column for the BBC.
“When I was third driver for Lotus in 2015, it was a similar situation. For the entire year, the team was scraping by with last-minute sponsorship deals left, right and centre, and a bit of goodwill to match. For the drivers, though, it is extremely tough.”
“It is a testament to both drivers that they have remained so professional throughout, and ultimately managed to keep delivering on track through difficult times.”
Palmer remembers that he actually had an opportunity to sample Force India’s inner qualities and strength when he tested for the team back in 2014.
“I had my first F1 test with Force India back in Abu Dhabi 2014 and I know first-hand how good they are, how hard working, but mainly what a great atmosphere they have in the team,” added the former Renault driver.
“That must have helped them through the tough moments. It’s good to see their future secure again and marked with a superb weekend performance.”
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