Esteban Ocon’s F1 future has been the talking point for sometime now, ever since the Lawrence Stroll led consortium had bailed Racing Point Force India out of administration.
Now, with Williams announcing George Russell as their driver for 2019, all F1 doors seem to be closed for Ocon, as Williams was the only realistic location for him for the next season.
Williams is certain to not have two Mercedes drivers for the next season and thus Robert Kubica in all probability should complete Williams’ lineup for 2019.
Now, according to the report in RaceFans, Ocon was offered the 2019 Williams seat, but they wanted him to commit to the team for more than a year, something that wasn’t quite possible for Ocon.
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) October 12, 2018
Ocon is being slated to take the reserve driver position at Mercedes for 2019 and would be groomed for that 2020 Mercedes seat.
The fact that Ocon couldn’t agree to a multi-year deal made Williams go out and get Russel’s signature.
Mercedes have tried to keep all options open going into the 2020 season, as Valtteri Bottas’ contract would terminate at the end of 2019.
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) October 12, 2018
If Bottas performs well next season, Ocon and Mercedes could be in a fix for 2020, but if Bottas fades away, Ocon should partner Hamilton for the 2020 season(assuming Hamilton sticks around until then).
A move to Williams would have been a massive downgrade for Ocon, but staying away from the track for an entire season could hamper Ocon’s spirit and momentum. Or will he be able to return to F1 with a bang in 2020 despite being a year away from the action?