Ocon: Potential Russell Williams exit would show how "cruel" F1 can be

Esteban Ocon says it would be "cruel" and "not justified" if George Russell were to lose his seat with Williams in Formula 1 for next year

Ocon: Potential Russell Williams exit would show how "cruel" F1 can be

Russell's future has been subject to speculation amid links between Williams and current Racing Point driver Sergio Perez, who is on the lookout for a seat for next year.

Russell stressed last week that he had "no concerns" about his future with Williams, given he has a contract in place, and that the stories had been "fed by the Perez camp" to help try and secure the Mexican a seat.

The Briton anticipated that he would get clarity from Williams about his future this week.

It marks the second time in three years that a Mercedes F1 junior has faced uncertainty about his future, with team boss Toto Wolff saying Russell's future was out of the German marque's hands.

PLUS: Why history risks repeating itself for Mercedes' star F1 junior

In 2018, Ocon slipped through the cracks in the driver market and was left without a seat for the following year, which he spent in a reserve role with Mercedes before returning full-time in 2020 with Renault.

Asked by Autosport about his experience of being the odd man out in the driver market two years ago, Ocon said it was "definitely a difficult thing" to go through.

"I'm just reading the press, so I'm not really aware of what is happening, but I really hope that George can stay in Formula 1," Ocon said.

"Performance-wise, he's doing an excellent job in that Williams - he's doing the best he can.

"There's nothing to say bad about him, about what he is doing.

"It would be not justified for him to not be on the grid next year. But that's how Formula 1 is, it can be cruel sometimes.

"I've paid the price at the end of 2018, and for 2019. I hope this won't be the case for him."

Wolff has already said that Mercedes would put Russell through a "mega" testing programme in 2021 if he were to lose his seat, but the pair have not discussed back-up options for next year.

Ocon said the support of Mercedes had been crucial through his year off the grid and in preparing for his comeback this season.

"Without the support of Mercedes, I would not be of course where I am today," Ocon said.

"It's been the support since years, since my junior career. For sure I would not be here today.

"Let's not say that he will be out. I don't know what is going to happen.

"On a normal performance judgement, which is always the sporting [side] that we want to judge, he should be on the grid next year."

shares
comments
Alonso ramps up F1 return preparations with Renault 2018 car test in Bahrain

Previous article

Alonso ramps up F1 return preparations with Renault 2018 car test in Bahrain

Next article

Binotto mentally rehearsed Vettel Ferrari F1 future phone call three times

Binotto mentally rehearsed Vettel Ferrari F1 future phone call three times
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021