Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said the team are prepared to release Esteban Ocon from his contract with the Silver Arrows.
Ocon was unfortunately forced to put his Formula 1 career on hold after failing to find a seat on the 2019 grid. Lance Stroll took his seat at Racing Point, while rumoured moves to Renault, McLaren or Williams failed to materialise.
The Frenchman is currently on the fringes at Mercedes as reserve and development driver, hoping that he could replace Valtteri Bottas if the Silver Arrows do not give the Finn another one-year extension.
However, Wolff is ready to let Ocon go so he can continue his career progression in Formula 1.
“There is this perception that he is a Mercedes driver, so maybe we need to set the record straight and enable him to pursue his career in a way that respects the investment and the support that Mercedes has given him, and he respects that very much, but equally doesn’t close doors for him,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.
A loan move to Renault next season has been suggested, but Wolff is now resigned to Ocon cutting all ties with Mercedes in order to seal a permanent move away.
“I think if he drives for another team he is released anyway,” Wolff added.
“He is not a Mercedes driver any more because if you drive for another team you are signing a contract that you will deliver to the best of your abilities for the other team.”
Renault are considering Nico Hulkenberg’s future as they assess who can form the strongest possible line-up with the Enstone team.