Esteban Ocon tempted by Mercedes 2025 switch as Alpine doubts emerge

The Frenchman's contract with Alpine is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season.

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Esteban Ocon has opened the door to replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, as the Alpine driver ponders his future with the Formula 1 team amid reports he could be replaced.

Ocon is one of 10 drivers yet to secure a drive for 2025 and his long-term agreement with the Enstone outfit comes to an end at the end of this year. Alpine’s poor start to the 2024 campaign means he is unlikely to renew after spending five years with the French team across two spells.

The 27-year-old signed a long-term agreement with Alpine in the summer of 2021, which expires at the end of this season. If he leaves, one of Ocon‘s options could be to rejoin Mercedes, who handed him his path to the F1 grid debut with Manor and later Force India.

The German manufacturer are looking to fill a vacant seat left by Hamilton, who is joining Ferrari, and Ocon has fuelled speculation he is interested in partnering George Russell for the Silver Arrows next season.

Alpine have struggled in 2024. | Alpine F1 Team

“In my mind, I’m still a Mercedes junior. My representation group hasn’t changed since 2015. We’re talking a lot and we’ll decide what’s best for my future,” Ocon told the written press, including Total-Motorsport.com, at Imola.

“We’ll see, I don’t think it’s an issue today. I’m sure that a lot of things are happening behind the scenes. I’m not only looking at a long-term contract, but also a short-term one.”

Ocon keen to avoid F1 wilderness

Ocon pulled off an extraordinary maiden victory in Hungary in 2021 and scored an impressive podium finish at the 2022 Monaco GP. However, Alpine’s steady decline has been well-documented and the A524 has been a huge disappointment this year, with Ocon scoring the team’s only point in six races.

Throughout his career, he has been unable to lock down a secure spot within a team and was dumped by Racing Point to make way for Lance Stroll in 2019, forcing him to sit out for a year as Mercedes‘ reserve driver.

It is understood Alpine would prefer to keep Pierre Gasly over Ocon, despite the fact the latter has dominated the head to head between them. There could also be vacancies at Haas and Williams, and Ocon is keen for his future to be decided to avoid being left out in the cold again.

“In Formula 1, things change quickly, but the most important thing is to have something secured as soon as possible. It is a clear goal for me always,” Ocon added. “I don’t want to pay the price for the second time like the one at the end of 2018, of which I don’t have a good memory and it wasn’t for performance reasons.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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