Ocon hopes his F1 future is sorted “very soon”
June 19 2019 , 1:20 pm
Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon hopes his future will be sorted “very, very soon” in his bid to return to a Formula 1 race seat next season.
Ocon lost his Racing Point drive following the takeover of the Force India team by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, whose son Lance moved across from Williams to partner long-time Force India driver Sergio Perez for this season.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has made it clear he expects Ocon to get an F1 seat for 2020, although it is not clear where he will fit in.
Ocon said he can “only be relaxed” as his management and Wolff work to get him a drive somewhere.
“Our goal, not only mine, is to get back in the car as soon as possible,”
“At the moment my whole management, including Toto, is working for me to get back in a race seat next year and I think discussions are already starting.
“I think [getting the plans confirmed] as soon as possible, that would be great. That would be the best. I hope my future will be sorted very, very soon.
“I trust the people around me to do a good job and that’s the only thing I can do.”
Loaning Ocon to Renault was an option for Mercedes before Daniel Ricciardo’s unexpected move from Red Bull for 2019.
That means his immediate future may not be restricted to Mercedes-engined teams, which should boost Ocon’s chances.
Mercedes has the option to continue partnering Lewis Hamilton with two-time 2019 race winner Valtteri Bottas at its works team next year.
Ocon would have to fight Perez/Stroll for a return to Racing Point, while Williams, the other Mercedes-engined team, currently has rising star George Russell and Robert Kubica with well-backed Formula 2 points leader Nicholas Latifi on its books as well.
After committing to a season as Mercedes’ reserve driver and undertaking simulator work, Ocon says “the only target” is to return to the F1 grid stronger next year.
“It’s been a good year of work,” he said. “I think what we’ve done at the simulator, me coming then to the races having some good information from it, has helped the team to perform properly.
“It helps them quite a lot to perform, so it’s going well. Being part of this fantastic team, you always learn a lot of stuff. The knowledge they have is priceless.
“They’ve won since the hybrid era started so they have so, so much knowledge. And of course being part of them, when I will come back I will be more ready and even more complete as a driver.
“It’s a great chance that I have to be around with this team.”