Ocon Addresses Mercedes Speculation, Pledges Allegiance to Alpine

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has stirred up the Formula 1 driver market by acknowledging his “strong links” to Mercedes amid widespread speculation about him potentially replacing Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

As Ocon’s contract with Alpine is set to expire at the end of this season, discussions about his future are intensifying, particularly given his previous ties to the Mercedes team.

Having been a standout in the Mercedes junior program and clinching the 2015 GP3 Series championship under their guidance, Ocon’s career continues to be overseen by Toto Wolff, even though he’s currently signed with Alpine in F1 until the conclusion of 2024.

Consequently, analysts have naturally positioned the skilled 27-year-old as a likely successor for Hamilton’s soon-to-be-open spot at Mercedes.

At the unveiling of Alpine’s A524 in Enstone on Wednesday, Ocon skillfully handled the media attention. While he recognized his ongoing connection with Mercedes, he emphasized that his current commitment and loyalty lie with his present team.

He said, “I’ve always had strong links with Mercedes. I’m still a Merc junior driver, This has always been, even if I’m not junior anymore. I’m still contracted with them at some stage.

“So, it is how it is. We will see. At the moment, I’m dedicated to Alpine. That’s my focus.

“I need to do a good job on track as always. Every year is a crucial year in F1 because it doesn’t matter if you have a contract or not. If you don’t perform, you can be out. That’s how it is.

“If you do a strong job there will always be talks, rumors, and good things for you. As long as we talk about you, it means that what you do on track is good.”

Following a challenging season last year, characterized by mid-season turmoil and changes in management, Alpine seems to have returned to a state of tranquility.

Ocon is optimistic that this regained stability within his team will lead to improved performance and outcomes.

He continued, “It’s very good to have continuity, You keep the work going, keep the little details going through. And ultimately, that’s very important because you have everything to learn if you work with a new team, with new people.

“If there is some fuss at the other [teams], we will take it, but we don’t want to focus on the other side. We need to be perfect on our side and then things will come.”