Toto Wolff says “several chess figures” need to be put in place in order for Lance Stroll to take Esteban Ocon’s Racing Point Force India seat.
According to paddock whispers it is just a matter of time before Stroll walked into a Force India race seat, and it will be Ocon’s.
However, in order for that to happen, Ocon needs a drive for the rest of this season. And that could be Stoffel Vandoorne’s at McLaren.
The full swap, should it come to pass, would see Stroll move to Force India as early as the Singapore GP, Ocon swap to McLaren, Vandoorne would be dropped and Robert Kubica would return to racing in the Williams.
Asked about the possible moves, Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff told Motorsport.com: “There is a lot of discussion going on at the moment.
“It is not down to one party deciding a movement, but we need to put in place several chess figures, and that isn’t clear yet.”
However, even if all this does not come to fruition this season, it could happen next year with Wolff adamant Ocon has a bright future in Formula 1.
He added: “I have no doubt that Esteban Ocon will win races and compete for championships in the future.
“We thought his future was clear around Budapest, and it all changed within 48 hours. But it is how it is, it makes no sense to complain.
“We will continue to help him in finding a short term solution for him to drive.
“There is a lot of interest out there, and it’s just a matter of scanning the market in the next few days to choose the right option for him and for the team.
“But I’m very optimistic for his future.”
Meanwhile McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran was asked about the Ocon rumours and he insisted that Vandoorne’s seat is safe, at least for the rest of this season.
“Yeah I can confirm that,” he said when asked if Vandoorne would race at Monza.
“At present we have no other plans and he will be in the car for the rest of the year.”
As for claims that Ocon recently had a McLaren seat fitting, he replied: “Esteban is not our driver, so I’m not going to make any comments about that.”