Esteban Ocon still ‘very linked’ to Mercedes

Esteban Ocon has been managed by Mercedes since joining the outfit in 2015.

Mercedes’ junior programme chief Gwen Lagrue has revealed that Esteban Ocon continues to be managed by the Silver Arrows, despite racing for Alpine.

Ocon has been managed by the German manufacturer since joining their junior programme in 2015 and made his Formula 1 debut mid-2016 for one of Mercedes’ customer teams, Manor.

The Frenchman completed the second half of the 2016 campaign for the defunct side, before switching to another of Mercedes’ customer teams in 2017, Force India – now known as Aston Martin.

He completed two seasons for the Silverstone-based outfit, with it having been during his second campaign with the team that they rebranded as Racing Point, following Lawrence Stroll’s purchase of the squad.

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Despite being a regular points scorer, Ocon was released at the conclusion of the 2018 season and replaced by Stroll’s son, Lance Stroll.

Ocon was left without a seat for 2019, much to Mercedes’ frustration, with him having been the Silver Arrows’ reserve driver that year.

Thankfully for his career, Mercedes managed to get a move to Renault on the cards for Ocon, with him having replaced Nico Hulkenberg in 2020.

He’s remained with the French side ever since, who are now, of course, known as Alpine following a successful rebrand ahead of the 2021 season.

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Since joining the Enstone-based side, Ocon has become a multiple-time podium finisher and an F1 race winner, with his sole victory to-date having come at the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix.

Remarkably, Mercedes continue to look after Ocon despite him having not featured in their colours or in one of their customers colours for four years, with Lagrue stressing that the Brackley-based team “always try” to get Ocon the very best.

“He’s still very linked to us,” Lagrue told The Race.

“He’s an Alpine driver, and he’s fully committed to Alpine, but we’re still managing his career.

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“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.”

Mercedes will likely be busy with Ocon this year given that his Alpine contract expires at the end of 2024, with no talks having been rumoured just yet.