Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that his junior driver Esteban Ocon will be more integrated with the team next year if he fails to find a seat at Williams. The Frenchman is set to leave Force India at the end of the year to make way for Lance Stroll.
Williams is yet to announce who will partner George Russell at the team, however it has said that it must take on a driver with financial backing. Williams confirmed that Ocon is in the running for the seat, along with a series of other racers.
However, should Ocon fail to sign with the Grove squad, Wolff says that Ocon will work to improve Mercedes next season: “No update," he said when asked what the situation was by Formula 1.com.
"I think we’ve just kind of settled in the situation where we might need to find the right seat for him in 2020 and have a gap year and integrate him a lot in the team, and he can contribute to the team performance.
“He and us, we’ve kind of got our head around it, even though it’s not perfect, unless a last-minute opportunity opens up at Williams. But it’s not in our hands. It’s for the team to decide.”
Regarding the deal with Williams, the Austrian added: “I think Claire [Williams, deputy team principal at Williams] will take a decision that is in the best interests of Williams commercially and driver-wise, and she hasn’t come to that point yet. It’s not going to happen any time soon."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing