‘Merc can’t rely on Ocon, Gasly’s sniffing at Renault’

Michelle Foster
Esteban Ocon

Based on current form, Esteban Ocon won’t be moving to Mercedes any time soon and could also lose his Renault job, so says Paul di Resta.

Returning to the Formula 1 grid after a year on the sidelines as Mercedes’ reserve driver, Ocon has yet to find his feet at Renault.

Handed a good opportunity to make his mark at the team in Daniel Ricciardo’s farewell season, Ocon has instead fallen far behind his team-mate.

While Ricciardo has 78 points, 15 of which came from his P3 at the Eifel Grand Prix, Ocon has scored just 36. He’s also lagging behind in the qualifying head-to-head, 1-10.

Former driver turned commentator Di Resta is concerned that Ocon, who still has ties with Mercedes through Toto Wolff, is hurting himself on two fronts.

Di Resta told Sky Sports: “Daniel’s at the top of his game again at the moment, I think he’s somehow re-energised after that break for Covid, and he talks about that openly.

“But Esteban had a great opportunity with Daniel moving on to come and establish himself again under the eyes of Mercedes as well, because don’t forget Toto Wolff manages him, he could have been a replacement for Hamilton in time to come.

“But he’s not done enough, I think, to prove to the team that they can rely on him.”

Even his Renault seat may be under threat with Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly reportedly looking at his options outside of the Red Bull family after Christian Horner and Helmut Marko made it clear he won’t be getting another shot at a Red Bull seat.

Di Resta added: “Cyril Abiteboul I think has come out and said that Esteban needs to baseline himself and move up a notch.

“They are still behind him, but with Pierre Gasly and what’s going on at Red Bull as well he’s sniffing around, I’ve seen Alain Prost talking to him in the paddock, so that will get him nervous because I think if he falls out of Formula 1 this time he won’t get back in.”

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Pierre Gasly

Di Resta isn’t the only former driver who has been left disappointed by Ocon’s 2020 performances.

Martin Bundle added: “I thought Ocon would go better than he has, he’s not been bad, but I expected more from him.”

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