Esteban Ocon: Mercedes Formula 1 seat just a matter of time

Esteban Ocon believes a Mercedes Formula 1 drive is "just a matter of time" and says his future lies with the German manufacturer regardless of his 2019 team

Esteban Ocon: Mercedes Formula 1 seat just a matter of time

The Mercedes junior is halfway through his second year racing with its engine customer Force India, and was in the running for a drive with the works team for next season.

Mercedes has instead opted to retain Valtteri Bottas for one more year, with an option to extend that deal to 2020.

Ocon had been linked with a move to Renault in 2019, on loan from Mercedes, but Daniel Ricciardo's shock decision to leave Red Bull has closed that door.

Speaking to Autosport in Hungary before the Ricciardo news, Ocon said: "The bosses [at Mercedes] have plans for me that are 'not yet'.

"It's not the plan for now. I think they want me to have more experience before I jump in that car," he said.

"I knew that already. I have targets I have to respect.

"At the moment they are happy with the job I'm doing. It's just a matter of time, I think."

Ocon said he had tried not to think about next season but was kept informed by Mercedes about its driver plans and was "not surprised" when Bottas was announced.

He said he had no concerns about position, and said Mercedes was "definitely" his longer-term plan regardless of what happens next season.

"My future will be sorted out soon," he said. "I'm not worried at all.

"I'm not in a position [with] the knife under my chin.

"The job we are doing with Force India this year is strong and everyone is happy with that.

"I'm not in a position where I have to perform at any cost, and take massive risks in the race - I don't feel like that."

Ocon has been a Mercedes protege since his GP3 title-winning season in 2015.

He moved into the DTM with the marque the following year, and was parachuted into the Manor team mid-season to partner Pascal Wehrlein in an all-Mercedes junior line-up.

Ocon then beat Wehrlein to a Force India seat for 2017 and remained with the Silverstone-based team for '18.

"What I'm sure of is that Mercedes is doing a great job with my management since I joined them," said Ocon.

"They always put me in the best sporting position for me. I don't have to be worried, it's all going to be OK.

"If I stay here [Force India] or go somewhere else, I don't know.

"But I will have a great position for sure next year."

With Renault no longer an option, it is understood that remaining with Force India or moving to McLaren on loan are the likeliest outcomes for Ocon.

If he commits to a third season with Force India he is expected to partner Lance Stroll, after the Canadian's father Lawrence led the consortium that saved Force India from administration, forcing current team-mate Sergio Perez to seek a drive elsewhere.

A move to McLaren, likely alongside Carlos Sainz Jr, would be expected to be on similar loan terms to what Mercedes was prepared to make with Renault.


shares
comments
How Hamilton is leading 2018 F1 title rival Vettel's championship

Previous article

How Hamilton is leading 2018 F1 title rival Vettel's championship

Next article

Why Kubica's F1 comeback is not a failure

Why Kubica's F1 comeback is not a failure
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Esteban Ocon
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021