Wolff: Ocon must first speak with Alpine about 2022

Date published: May 12 2021 - Michelle Foster

Esteban Ocon Alpine

Toto Wolff says it is up to Esteban Ocon and Alpine to decide if they want to continue together next season – only then would Mercedes enter the conversation.

Although Ocon arrived in Formula 1 as a Mercedes junior driver, placed at Racing Point by Wolff, that link proved costly as he sought a new team for the 2019 season.

With none of Mercedes’ rivals open to signing him if he maintained his Mercedes links, Ocon spent a year as the team’s reserve driver before eventually severing those ties and joining Renault, now Alpine.

Signing a two-year deal which is up at the end of this season, Ocon has been linked to Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes race seat should the Brackley team decide that after five years it is time for a change.

Wolff, who recently stated he expects Lewis Hamilton to sign with Mercedes for another two seasons, has yet to decide if he wants to change.

“Esteban is also one of the drivers that is connected to us, whilst being a fully-fledged Renault or Alpine driver,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.

“We have a very good relationship with Alpine. So obviously Valtteri is the driver today, and Lewis is the driver today, and what will be next year will be next year.”

He, however, will not begin potential talks with Ocon until such time as the Frenchman has sat down with his current boss, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

Wolff added: “It’s a little bit of a weird situation because he’s been a Mercedes junior for a long time, and he is an Alpine works driver now.

“That’s fact. I think the situation is good for him there. He’s growing, he’s putting in the performances. He’s French. All that is very much the stars aligning.

“I think it needs to be Laurent and Esteban’s call first, how to continue, before we start to give an opinion.”

Esteban Ocon

Get the new look Alpine merchandise via the official Formula 1 store

As for Ocon, the 24-year-old says he has yet to give any thought to his 2022 plans.

For now he is an Alpine driver, and that is where he focus lies.

“What I’m focusing on is to do a good job here, at Alpine,” Ocon said. “I think we have to be glad with our progress, and I’m glad with the progress I’ve made as well this year.

“I’m focusing on delivering the best I can each single race so, you know, for sure if you perform, there will be always talks and things going on.

“But my aim is to deliver for the team that I’m racing at, and my home is here at the moment.”

Ocon has scored 10 points in this year’s championship, five more than his team-mate Fernando Alonso. He has also outqualified the double former World Champion in three of four grands prix.

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.