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Wolff: Ocon must be driving in F1 next year

  • Published on 04 Aug 2019 13:55
  • comments 5
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is adamant that Esteban Ocon must be driving in Formula 1 next season.

The French driver has been watching on the sidelines in 2019 after losing his place at Force India, now Racing Point, at the end of the 2018 season.

Ocon has been working as a development driver for Mercedes and is currently in the running to take over Valtteri Bottas' seat for the 2020 season.

Wolff states that Ocon should be racing in F1 next year, whether it is with the Silver Arrows or another team on the grid, as Wolff confirmed that there is interest in the 22-year-old.

"If you can't provide an opportunity for a young driver then you got to make compromises," he said. "Certainly, I wouldn't sabotage Esteban's career by blocking him and not releasing him to drive in Formula 1.

"He's a great personality because he says he would understand if we were to do this. If needed, he would stay in the Mercedes family and do something else with us.

"But he must be given the opportunity in F1, whether with us or another team. Who knows what will happen two, three, four years down the line."

2020 Mercedes sat between Bottas and Ocon

Wolff confirmed that Mercedes is not looking at anyone else other than Bottas and Ocon for 2020, with Wolff admitting that it will be difficult to choose between the two. 

"It's a question between Esteban and Valtteri, we've been discussing it for a long time within the team," Wolff commented. "I've been wrestling with myself on what is the right thing for the drivers.

"They both deserve the seat. Esteban because he's been in tough situations and currently has the motivation, energy and talent to be a Mercedes driver. 

"Valtteri has the experience and has proven again how fast he can go. He's tremendously supportive in developing the team with Lewis."

Replies (5)

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  • Kean

    Posts: 598

    There is a simple solution to him driving in F1 you know dear Toto; put him in Bottas' seat. With the experience Bottas has, and that he's shown he can outqualify Lewis 5 out of 12 times makes him a more interesting proposal for developing teams such as Renault or Haas (compared to Ocon).

    • + 0
    • Aug 4 2019 - 17:27
  • Why?
    Who misses what he brought, last year?
    His positives more or less got balanced out by negatives. And in that second Merc seat, I give it 50/50 odds he will ruin it for himself by trying to take on Hamilton too quickly and carelessly, like how he tried to unlap himself in Brazil last year. If it is "because he is such a talent", many more like that are driving around in Formula 2 or Formula E.

    • + 0
    • Aug 4 2019 - 18:52
    • Kean

      Posts: 598

      I for one rate Ocon highly (though I may be the only one). He won F3 and GP3 in his rookie seasons, a sure sign of talent in my book. And next to Perez (who I rate highly as well) he looked good, sure the two of them clashed but the blame is pretty much 50/50 I think. He outqualified Perez 16-5, with an average time diff of over 0,4 sec. Perez finished the season ahead on points, but a large part of that was due to a somewhat lucky podium in Baku, a race that saw 7 DNF's, including some top cars such as the Red Bulls and Bottas. Yet people only seem to remember Ocon trying to unlap himself agains Verstappen, a stupid incident but it doesn't undo his stats.

      • + 0
      • Aug 4 2019 - 21:28
    • I rate Ocon pretty highly, though I am unsure if I'd rate him alongside the likes of Norris or Leclerc. And that's for someone who was certain he could be champion material once (and I still do, just not as confidently as I did back then). But I do feel Bottas' place at Merc' is threatened to some extent.

      • + 0
      • Aug 4 2019 - 22:25
    • I don't rate Perez that highly either. Solid racer in his day, but hot-headed and erratic too quickly when under pressure. A potential race winner but not likely to win championships even in a great F1 car. A bit the reverse of Hülkenberg who is also solid as a racer, but lacks that edgyness when it's needed. Ocon benchmarked okay against Perez but would drown against the likes of Hamilton, Ricciardo or Vettel in my opinion.

      • + 0
      • Aug 5 2019 - 14:26
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