McLaren says Ocon's Mercedes F1 ties were turn-off for 2019 deal

Esteban Ocon's Mercedes Formula 1 ties were a turn-off for McLaren when it came to deciding who would partner Carlos Sainz Jr in 2019, its CEO Zak Brown has revealed

McLaren says Ocon's Mercedes F1 ties were turn-off for 2019 deal

Ocon was a strong contender for a seat at McLaren, and even had a seat fitting earlier this year as the team pondered a potential mid-season switch for the youngster.

But those McLaren talks went quiet when Ocon moved closer to a move to Renault instead, only for that option to fall through when the manufacturer took Daniel Ricciardo.

While Mercedes, which looks after Ocon's career, pushed again to get him back in at McLaren, in the end the Woking-based team felt Mercedes' long-term control of him was not what it wanted.

McLaren instead opted to promote its own youngster Lando Norris, who it felt was a better longer-term bet even though he is a rookie. Speaking about the Ocon situation, Brown said: "Ultimately, I think we want to have our own driver, and Lando is who we wanted.

"Esteban is someone that we rate extremely highly, and I think any time when a driver, you're looking to something long-term, has ties to another manufacturer, that's a tick in the wrong box.

"Hopefully Esteban will get a ride, or maybe stay where he is, because he certainly deserves to be in Formula 1.

"But manufacturers having a hold on these drivers is certainly something that is a negative when you are not with that certain manufacturer, and you want to have a five, or 10-year view on whether you can have the driver or not."

Norris has been a McLaren young driver since last year, while Brown has helped guide the Briton's career too - but he denied any conflict of interest in promoting him to the F1 team.

"I've been looking after Lando before I started at McLaren and before he came to McLaren," added Brown.

"It's been very transparent from day one with the shareholders, and what we do, and I think I'm not the first person to have that type of relationship in the sport or in business.

"I'm not conflicted in any sort of negotiation so it's quite relaxed around here. He's here on his merit and if he wasn't here he'd be in another Formula 1 team."

shares
comments
Norris: '19 F1 drive unlikely without McLaren Autosport BRDC Award win
Previous article

Norris: '19 F1 drive unlikely without McLaren Autosport BRDC Award win

Next article

Whiting: FIA unmoved by Verstappen's 'killing racing' comments

Whiting: FIA unmoved by Verstappen's 'killing racing' comments
Load comments
Why the lack of “needle” between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage Plus

Why the lack of “needle” between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage

OPINION: The fight for the 2022 Formula 1 world titles between Red Bull and Ferrari so far features little of the public animosity that developed between the former and Mercedes last year. But that isn’t to say things are full on friendly or won’t get much worse very quickly…

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Plus

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Formula 1
May 16, 2022
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Plus

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but MARK GALLAGHER believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Plus

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells OLEG KARPOV how close Haas came to the abyss

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Plus

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022
Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives Plus

Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives

Formula 1 lost one of its brightest stars when Gilles Villeneuve was killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Forty years on, Autosport picks out the greatest drives by a Ferrari legend

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat Plus

The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat

OPINION: Much was made of Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix – what turned out to be a very ‘marmite’ event for both those in attendance and everyone following on TV. But even as the on-track battle between Red Bull and Ferrari it produced continued the negative run of results for the red team, it contained a glimmer it must hope continues to shine

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge Plus

How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge

OPINION: Despite all of the stylistic embellishments festooning Formula 1's inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Miami International Autodrome offered the drivers a unique challenge and punished driver errors; a stark contrast to the usual cast of modern-day circuits

Formula 1
May 10, 2022