Esteban Ocon believes that a full-time drive with Mercedes is just a matter of time. The Frenchman joined the German squad's junior roster in 2015, one year before he made his Formula 1 debut with the now dilapidated Manor team.
After spending half a year there, he joined Force India for the 2017 season, where he remains today. However, his seat at the team for 2019 is in major doubt, as Lance Stroll is set to join the Silverstone squad next year after his father led a consortium to buy the outfit and pull them from administration.
And with no open seats at Mercedes next year, Ocon is setting his eyes elsewhere, gaining more experience before he gets the big seat: "The bosses [at Mercedes] have plans for me that are 'not yet'," he told Autosport.
"It's not the plan for now. I think they want me to have more experience before I jump in that car. I knew that already. I have targets I have to respect. At the moment they are happy with the job I'm doing. It's just a matter of time, I think," he added.
Ocon had been linked with a seat at Renault for 2018, but a shock deal for Daniel Ricciardo shut that door. But the 21-year-old is not worried: "My future will be sorted out soon," he said. "I'm not worried at all.
"I'm not in a position [with] the knife under my chin. The job we are doing with Force India this year is strong and everyone is happy with that. I'm not in a position where I have to perform at any cost, and take massive risks in the race - I don't feel like that."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing