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What’s subsequent for Esteban Ocon in F1 after Alpine departure?

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The Frenchman’s five-year keep on the Enstone outfit has yielded a race victory and two additional podium finishes, achievements that can guarantee that he’s coveted by a handful of groups with seats obtainable for subsequent season.

Talking on the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, earlier than his impending Alpine departure was announced, Ocon acknowledged that “the essential factor is to be safe as early as doable,” as he was eager to not endure a repeat of 2019 – the place he was left on the sidelines when Racing Level/Power India changed him with Lance Stroll.

“I do not wish to pay the value a second time, like there was on the finish of 2018, which was not a great reminiscence and was not for efficiency causes,” he mentioned.

“I believe I am doing a great job once more this 12 months and for the years that I’ve performed in F1, I should have a spot [on the grid].”

PLUS: Why Ocon retains the approach forced on him by his “crazy journey”

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Not like his predicament in late 2018, Ocon has time to safe a seat on the grid for subsequent season. There are some berths which are extra probably targets than others, though he’ll have the ability to lean on his administration group – led by Toto Wolff – for help available in the market.

Haas – a part of an all-new line-up with Bearman?

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, Logan Sargeant, Williams FW46

Picture by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Ocon is understood to be on Haas’ wishlist for 2025. The American group is assessing its choices within the wake of Nico Hulkenberg’s announced departure to Sauber. It’s anticipated that Ferrari reserve Oliver Bearman will take one of many seats, having impressed group principal Ayao Komatsu along with his work ethic and performances in FP1 for the group.

Haas will not be eager to repeat the travails of 2021 with an all-rookie line-up; the pairing of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin harm the group’s financial institution steadiness with heavy restore payments, in a interval when the group was up towards it financially. Kevin Magnussen’s return when Mazepin was dropped on the eve of the 2022 season gave the group Positive affirmation that retaining a minimum of one skilled driver was preferable.

With Bearman assumed to be on the cusp of securing one seat, that leaves Ocon battling towards Magnussen for the second. The Dane has been largely outperformed by Hulkenberg throughout their one-and-a-bit seasons collectively, elevating questions on his consistency – and driving requirements – within the course of.

Magnussen’s retention thus hinges on whether or not Komatsu values continuity in 2025’s line-up. If Bearman’s time working with the group is deemed adequate, then Ocon would possibly simply get the nod. Given Haas’ uptick in efficiency this 12 months, it might be a way more engaging proposition to Ocon than beforehand, and the chance to be the de facto lead driver whereas Bearman learns his craft would possibly render it a extra compelling prospect.

Sauber/Audi – a producer choice, however depends upon Sainz’s actions

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44, is returned to the garage

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Staff Kick Sauber C44, is returned to the storage

Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The gig at Sauber – which is able to change into Audi in 2026 – is totally depending on what Carlos Sainz decides to do along with his post-Ferrari profession. He’s at the moment considering offers from both Sauber and Williams, and his final determination will play because the tipping level because the dominoes put together to fall.

Ought to Sainz be sufficiently impressed by James Vowles’ masterplan and joins Williams, then Ocon could be the following logical choice for Sauber. It seems sure that the Swiss outfit won’t retain both Valtteri Bottas or Zhou Guanyu, so competitors doesn’t look like significantly forthcoming.

Ocon could be well-placed to stroll right into a producer group, and partnering Hulkenberg on the squad would guarantee Audi boasts a robust line-up when it makes its full-factory entry into F1. However this can be a drive that Ocon would doubtlessly have to attend for, with the danger of exposing himself to the same diploma of unease as that he confronted within the lead-up to 2019. 

An amusing facet be aware is that Ocon has changed Hulkenberg twice in his profession: at Power India when the German moved onto Renault, after which at Renault for 2020 when Hulkenberg was dropped. What likelihood their parallel careers lastly converge on the identical group?

Mercedes – a colossal lengthy shot, however one with affiliation

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG and Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team attending the FIA press conference

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG and Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Staff attending the FIA press convention

Picture by: Motorsport Images

Evidently Mercedes has its eggs in the Andrea Kimi Antonelli basket as Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton’s alternative for 2025, therefore the non-public testing programme that the 17-year-old Italian is at the moment operating by. Having missed out on securing Max Verstappen for the Mercedes junior group in 2014 as he did not have a seat to supply him, Toto Wolff doesn’t wish to endure the identical subject with Antonelli. 

Antonelli is not having the best time in F2, though a lot of that seems to be all the way down to Prema’s preliminary miscues with understanding the calls for of the brand new Dallara chassis. However he has the superlicence factors regardless if he was to earn a promotion to Mercedes’ F1 group to fill Hamilton’s vacant seat.

But when there was any doubt about Antonelli, Ocon could be a worthwhile call-up. He is already managed by Wolff, and nonetheless retains ties to Mercedes’ junior programme having joined the set-up in late 2015. As a stop-gap choice, ought to Antonelli be thought of not prepared, Ocon would match the invoice. But it surely’s unlikely, given the German producer’s zeal in getting its highly-rated teen ready for an F1 berth.

It’s understood that Williams will not be at the moment pursuing Ocon; each Sainz and Bottas look like on the high of the group’s shortlist as Vowles seeks an bold choice to accomplice Alex Albon on the group. Lance Stroll is predicted to remain at Aston Martin, and each Crimson Bull and RB look prone to preserve the established order. 

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