Ocon 'Still Very Linked' To Mercedes Says Chief Of Mercedes Junior Program

F1
by Adam OndrikSunday, 21 January 2024 at 21:00
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Chief of Mercedes' junior program, Gwen Lagrue, explained in a recent interview how Esteban Ocon is still linked to Silver Arrows.
Esteban Ocon has been a part of Mercedes Junior Academy ever since his years before F1, and it was Mercedes that found the Frenchman a seat in a Mercedes customer team - Manor Racing MRT and later Force India.
Even during his year without a seat in F1 - 2019, Ocon served as Mercedes's reserve driver. In 2020, Ocon found a seat in Alpine and has been with them for four seasons now, but as Gwen Lagrue explained, he is still linked to Silver Arrows. He told The Race:

"He's still very linked to us. He's an Alpine driver, and he's fully committed to Alpine, but we're still managing his career."

"There are only 20 seats in Formula 1, and we are in a way pretty much all collaborating in the best interests of the sport. And in our case we have a very good relationship with Alpine and with others. And we always try to find the best solution to work together in the best interest of the team and the driver."

At one point, Mercedes made a decision to take George Russell instead of Esteban Ocon, and the door in Silver Arrows seems to be closed to the Frenchman as long as Lewis Hamilton stayed with the team.
If the seven-time World Champion decided to conclude his career after his contract expires at the end of the season in 2025, Ocon could be on the list of the top candidates for the seat alongside Russell.
The 27-year-old stays positive and said in a recent interview he still believes his time will come. Could he potentially get a chance in one of the top teams in the near future?