Esteban Ocon says he wants German driver to replace Fernando Alonso

Esteban Ocon will have a new team-mate next season, but who will it be?

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon has revealed that he does not have a say as to whom will be his team-mate next season, but he hinted that he would love to work with Haas’ Mick Schumacher.

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel kickstarted a massive chain of events in the driver market at the Hungarian Grand Prix when he announced his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season.

Fernando Alonso had been in talks to extend his contract with Alpine, but they were waiting for a chance to promote Oscar Piastri, so did not want to offer the 41-year-old a long deal.

They also cited his age as a factor towards only offering a short-term contract, but Alonso was unhappy with being used only until Piastri was ready, so he has jumped ship and signed for Aston Martin.

READ: George Russell warns Mercedes against ‘changing car concept’

The Spaniard also saw it as a good opportunity for Alpine to promote Piastri, but there were rumours that he had delayed the announcement of his Alpine departure to allow Piastri to leave.

The theory was that, if Alonso decided to leave after the end of July, then the team’s option to promote the Australian will have expired, so he would be free to sign for another team, which in this case, is McLaren.

Alonso described the rumours that his manager, Flavio Briatore, had concocted a contractual strategy with Piastri’s manager, Mark Webber, as “annoying,” affirming that he thought the situation had worked well, not badly, for Alpine.

The double world champion had left the team, so there was a free seat available to Piastri, but the Formula 2 champion has turned down the promotion, and he is expected to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who is to leave McLaren at the end of this season by mutual consent.

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That leaves a vacant drive with the Enstone-based team, with Ricciardo being linked with a return to the side he left in 2020.

However, Schumacher, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Nicholas Latifi are all, as it stands, set to become available for 2023, so there are options there for CEO Laurent Rossi and team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

Ocon is not involved in those talks, but he affirmed that he would quite like to partner Schumacher, who does not currently have a contract with Haas next year.

READ: Alpine boss comments on risk of Fernando Alonso causing trouble at the team

“I am not really discussing about that inside the team,” the Frenchman said, as per the Race.

“I completely trust Laurent and Otmar the bosses, they are going to be pretty busy, I am sure they received hundreds of calls for that seat. 

“No, I am not into that at all, what I would like is for Mick to race with me, that is clear because he is my good friend, but that is not going into the bosses’ ear. 

“I’ll let them decide.”

Schumacher affirmed ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, however, that he is “happy” at Haas, indicating that he is keen to sign a new contract.

Ocon, Schumacher, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris are all set to start at the back in Spa this weekend.