F1: what does the future hold for Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso?
Ocon trusts that his management team will secure a 2020 drive
Ocon wants future sorted ‘very soon’
We’re only seven races into the 2019 Formula 1 season but talk has already started on potential driver moves for next year.
Recent topics of discussion in the rumour-mill has included Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel “considering retirement” and Red Bull Racing lining up Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg as Pierre Gasly’s replacement. Max Verstappen’s future at Red Bull has also been subject to reports.
While the Vettel and Hulkenberg rumours have since been quashed, one driver who is definitely on the market for 2020 is Esteban Ocon.
The Frenchman lost his seat at Racing Point when Lance Stroll moved from Williams, and he missed out on a drive for 2019. Part of the Mercedes programme, Ocon has spent the year as the team’s official test and reserve driver.
While he says it has been “a good year of work” with the Silver Arrows, Ocon’s aim is to get back on the grid for 2020.
In an interview with Autosport the 22-year-old revealed that his management team and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff are working hard to secure him a seat for next year.
He said: “Our goal, not only mine, is to get back in the car as soon as possible. At the moment my whole management, including Toto, is working for me to get back in a race seat next year and I think discussions are already starting.
“I hope my future will be sorted very, very soon. I trust the people around me to do a good job and that’s the only thing I can do.”
The main question is where will Ocon drive next season?
Autosport says his immediate future may not be restricted to Mercedes-engined teams - Racing Point, Williams and the Silver Arrows themselves. This should boost Ocon’s chances.
Alonso would return - with a winning team
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has also spent the 2019 season away from F1.
The former McLaren driver “retired” from F1 at the end of 2018 to compete in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and IndyCar.
Sky Sports reports that the Spaniard has already claimed he won’t be racing in WEC or IndyCar next season.
After winning the Le Mans 24hr race for the second successive year the 37-year-old revealed this week that he would be open to an F1 return, but only if he was driving for a winning team that is challenging for the title.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper AS Alonso said: “In the future I am open to interesting proposals. If I decide to return to Formula 1, it is only if there is a real possibility of winning the world championship.
“I am not interested in projects that start from scratch, I want a winning car immediately. If Formula 1 appears again in an attractive way, I have no doubt: I would go back.”
Vettel hearing on Friday
Ferrari’s request for a review into Sebastian Vettel’s Canadian Grand Prix time penalty will be heard in France on Friday.