The Esteban Ocon saga has carried on for some time now with the young driver still in search of a F1 seat for 2019.
The Racing Point Force India driver is certain to leave the team, as Lance Stroll would be racing for the team in 2019, after a Lawrence Stroll consortium brought the team out of administration.
Now, until today, Ocon just had one realistic option of staying in F1, and that was somehow finding a seat at Williams. According to reports, he had even visited the Williams facility on Monday. However, he has been asked to cough up $20 million in order to secure the seat, a amount that Mercedes are not quite willing to pay.
There seems to be a new opening for Ocon now, with Force India team principal Szafnauer admitting that Ocon could maybe become the 3rd driver for Force India.
He was asked if Ocon could become Force India’s 3rd driver, and he did respond a little positively.
“That could happen.
“None of that’s decided, but if you’re doing simulator work the only way to really develop the simulator and the car is to be in the car every once in a while, because you’re actually simulating the car.
“You need to be current, otherwise your usefulness as a simulator driver decreases.
“My personal opinion is if he doesn’t find one for next year, but there’s a good opportunity in F1 for the following year, I would not do another racing series.
“But I don’t advise him on that, he has other people, that’s just my opinion.” Szafnauer said.
Szafnauer believes that a one-year sabbatical wouldn’t do much harm to Ocon, taking cue from how Raikkonen performed after making a comeback.
“Hopefully he’ll find something else,” said Szafnauer.
“But we’ll help him, he’s very good.
“You bide your time for a year. How long was Raikkonen out? Two years? He came back and still did well. He’s young enough and talented enough.” he concluded.