Esteban Ocon’s future has been under the dark for sometime now, especially after Force India came out of administration thanks to a Lawrence Stroll led consortium.
Lawrence Stroll always wanted his son Lance to race for his team and with Sergio Perez’s place at Force India all but sealed, Esteban Ocon was staring down the barrel.
Toto Wolff and Mercedes were trying to get a seat for him at Williams, so as to not force him out of F1 for an entire year, but apparently the terms weren’t good enough for Williams and hence the deal did not go through.
Reportedly Williams wanted a good deal on the Mercedes engines in order to let Ocon have the seat for the 2019 season, a commercial step that Mercedes weren’t ready to take. Wolff was firm that a sabbatical year wouldn’t hurt Ocon, and hence wasn’t going to give into Williams’ demand.
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 22, 2018
Not exactly a massive secret, but Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff confirms that Esteban Ocon will be their reserve and test driver in 2019
— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) November 23, 2018
Toto Wolff confirmed Esteban Ocon will work as reserve & simulator driver for Mercedes in 2019. Hopes to get him some runs in pre season testing. But that's not decided yet. #AMuS
— Tobi Grüner 🏁 (@tgruener) November 23, 2018
Now, Toto Wolff has confirmed Ocon as Mercedes’ reserve driver for the 2019 season
“The plans are pretty clear,” said Wolff.
“He is going to be pretty close to the Mercedes team – he will be our reserve driver and third driver.
“We hope to do the odd test with him, we are looking at pre-season and in-season but it’s not sorted out yet.
“He will do a lot of time in the simulator to make sure that he is ready.” he added.
In the press conference last night, Ocon was pretty confident about his chances of returning to F1 in 2020, with rumours doing the rounds that he could partner Hamilton for the 2020 season.
“Definitely I will be around in the F1 paddock and trying to get as much mileage as possible in a Formula 1 car next year,” said Ocon.
“Me and Mercedes, we see great opportunities for me to come back in 2020 so hopefully that will be the case and hopefully I will be back even stronger than I am now.” he added.