Facing an uncertain future, Esteban Ocon is adamant he won’t let the chatter get him as he’s been in “more difficult situations” in the past.
The Frenchman is reportedly on the verge of losing his Force India race seat, either during this season or at the end of it.
Ocon is set to be replaced by Lance Stroll after the Canadian driver’s father led a consortium that purchased the F1 team.
Mercedes are trying to find Ocon a new home.
His ties with Mercedes, though, are proving to be a stumbling block with both Renault and McLaren admitting it put them off signing the Frenchman.
Ocon is doing his best not to let it get to him.
“It’s not a distraction because I manage to switch off quite well,” he told RaceFans. “And I’ve been in more difficult situations than I am in now.
“I’m still doing a strong job I think the last few races.
“Of course it hasn’t been an easy situation. I’m trying to do the best I can on track and I don’t think I’m doing too bad.”
However, another door has been closed to the 21-year-old with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner saying Toro Rosso also won’t look at the driver given his relationship with Mercedes.
It is, he says, a catch 22 situation as while it is his Mercedes ties that got him into Formula 1, they could also be the reason he’s not on the 2019 grid.
“For what is relatively little investment by Mercedes it’s been to their merit that they’ve helped these guys to get into F1,” Horner told Motorsport.com.
“But now it seems to be almost an anchor being a Mercedes driver. Being on a recall mechanism isn’t attractive to a vast majority of teams.
“The crazy situation is you’ve got a driver like Ocon who might end up without a seat next year. If he was to be contractually free he’d be an obvious candidate for Toro Rosso.
“But Red Bull aren’t going to invest in a Mercedes driver, understandably. And I wouldn’t expect the same to happen the other way round.”