Abiteboul: 'Renault only a small factor in Ocon's situation'

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Cyril Abiteboul has responded to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff's comment about Renault being partly responsible for Esteban Ocon's current plight.

The Force India driver - heralded as one of F1's brightest talents - could be out of a drive for 2019, an unfortunate state of affairs that Wolff has pinned on Renault reneging on a deal that was agreed on in principle by all interested parties - meaning Mercedes, Ocon and Renault - over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend back in July.

Obviously, Daniel Ricciardo's sudden decision to leave Red Bull and accept Renault's offer for 2019 was the catalyst for the manufacturer's change of plans days after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

In Singapore, a clearly upset Wolff alluded to 'politics in the background, hidden agendas and lies' as he vented his frustration about the truncated outcome of the discussions with Renault.

"I don't want to respond to Toto's words so the story continues endlessly," said Renault sport F1 boss Abiteboul.

"Perhaps it was the first time Toto had a problem in Formula 1.

"I have never denied that we have a great interest in Esteban and in the future as well. But I believe Renault is only a small factor in Esteban's current situation."

Abiteboul made clear that Mercedes only had itself to blame for Ocon missing out on a seat for 2019.

"Don't forget about Mercedes and its own decision about its drivers. Don't forget about the situation with Force India and the role Mercedes plays in that.

"I don't want to go into the details of our personal discussions but I can say that the contract was obviously not signed, otherwise Toto would have demanded that we honour it," Abiteboul said.

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