Esteban Ocon has been attracting a lot of media coverage in the last few weeks, with reports suggesting that he has already signed with Renault for next season.
Ocon is a Mercedes contracted driver and has been on loan with Force India. Mercedes now want to exercise the option to make him drive for Renault next season.
However, according to Motorsport.com, Mercedes will need to figure out a way to make their driver move away from their customer team to a rival works team, something that Wolff has conceded will be ‘tricky’.
“We don’t know. We can’t comment. It’s tricky, the situation.” Wolff said, talking about Ocon’s future in the sport.
Force India COO, Otmar Szafnauer has revealed that the ultimate call resides with Force India and they would consider Ocon moving to Renault only if the offer is commercially attractive.
“We try not to disclose the details of our driver contracts, but it’s safe to say that we would have to release him,” he said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“If circumstances made it the best thing for us to do, we’d have to look at it. We like Esteban and he’s done a great job for us. At the end of the day, it’s our call. If Renault want to pay a bunch of money, I’ll consider it!” he added.
Szafnauer also spoke about Sergio Perez’s situation at the team and how Force India are planning to deal with it.
“We haven’t started throwing the balls up in the air,” he said.
“It’s too early. It’s genuinely all wide open.
“With Checo [Perez] the time frame is to start speaking with some of his backers and supporters on what they want to do next year. It’s usually around the Mexican GP that we face that, so it’s way premature for Checo.” he added.
With Ocon almost certain to come in for Renault, they will now have to deal with Sainz situation, as he is currently contractually tied to Red Bull.
The Ricciardo-Red Bull deal hasn’t quite happened yet and thus Sainz’a future seems a little uncertain as of now, thus presenting Renault with a massive headache.
“One thing that is very public that is holding back a decision is the decision of Ricciardo,” Abiteboul said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I guess with the announcements this weekend from Mercedes [new deals for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas] I expect some domino effect, and in particular for Ricciardo, so that it clarifies a number of things for us.
“One thing I can say is our position is clear to a number of drivers who have expressed an interest in joining us.
“So we have options which we will review in the next few weeks, and we’ll make a decision. Once there is certainty on that, I guess there is no reason to delay a decision.
“Carlos is bringing stability, commitment, team spirit, pace, and indeed the fact that he will be a free agent [if Red Bull lets it option on him lapse].
“Having said that we need to take the time and look at all the options, and see what’s best for Renault, not just next year, but in the next two to three years.” he added.