It’s probably fair to say that the Frenchman will be at the heart of the next Formula 1 transfer market, having become a reserve driver for Mercedes despite two impressive seasons with Force India, the very talented Frenchman intends to return to a race seat in 2020.
“What I would really have a hard time swallowing, what I would not swallow, is not to come back in 2020. I would be incredibly disappointed.” confides Ocon,
“I think I’ll come back because I trust the people around me for that. I’m just going to be even better prepared, with all I know, all the knowledge I’ve gained from the last season.” A rather resolutely optimistic speech that Ocon has begun to pedal in recent weeks.
“At the moment, my management, including Toto, is working to ensure that I get back on track next year” he says in the columns of Autosport.
“I even think that discussions have already begun. To be able to confirm my plans as soon as possible would be ideal.” Toto Wolff, on the other hand, suggested that he could let the Frenchman go in the press recently in favour of UK driver George Russell.
“Everyone seems to have this perception that Esteban is a Mercedes driver. Perhaps we should allow him to continue his career without being an obstacle to his return to F1 but while taking into account the resources we have invested in him.” said Wolff on the subject.
In other words, if Mercedes decides to continue next season with the same Lewis Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas duo, which seems to be the current trend given the Finnish driver’s very good start to the season, then Ocon would be released and available to other interested teams.
Two options should then be available to him. The first would lead him to Renault, where Nico Hulkenberg’s days – at the end of his contract this year – would be numbered. The brand in Le Losange would certainly be pleased to finally have a hexagonal driver in one of its cars.
This nearly happened a year ago, when Ocon had reached an agreement with Cyril Abiteboul, before the latter withdrew in favour of Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull.
So long as Ocon is pragmatic and does not have a tenacious grudge, the French team would be a good way out for him. And if not Renault, then it could be Haas. Where he would take the seat of his compatriot Romain Grosjean, a driver whose performance this year has been dire.
For Ocon, the future in F1 is probably somewhere in this Mercedes-Renault-Haas triumvirate. Otherwise, Formula E will be his escape.
Where do you think Ocon will go? Answers in the comments below…
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