Esteban Ocon says an "interesting future" awaits him in F1, not only with Alpine but also perhaps beyond 2024 after his contract with the French outfit expires.
Ocon is still waiting to learn who will be his teammate next season, but it looks like Pierre Gasly is still in the running for Alpine's second seat if his current team AlphaTauri can seal a deal with a suitable replacement, with Nyck de Vries perhaps fulfilling that criteria.
Ocon's formative years in motorsport and in F1 were supported by Mercedes, and when the Frenchman was forced to sit out the 2019 season after losing his seat at Racing Point to Lance Stroll, he was placed in the wings of the Brackley squad as the team's reserve and sim driver.
As Ocon's manager, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff then brokered the young gun's transfer to Renault in 2020, after which his contract was extended with the rebranded Alpine team until the end of 2024.
That term may coincidently line up with the end of Lewis Hamilton's career in F1 with Mercedes, making Ocon a potential successor to the seven-time world champion.
Asked in an interview with Motorsport.com if he still entertained a relationship with Wolff and Mercedes, Ocon said that he did.
"Yes, we talk, also because in the management of my career Gwen Lagrue, a manager who also works with Mercedes, is still helping me," he commented.
"So there is still this connection, even though I am an Alpine driver and my work today is here. I have a good contract that expires at the end of 2024 and a very interesting future awaits me ".
Asked where he sees himself in two or three years, Ocon shied away from projecting ahead, knowing all to well how fluid the drivers' market in Formula 1 can be.
"I realise nothing is certain in Formula 1," he replied.
"Even if you have won, if you have stood up to a double World Champion like Fernando, you don’t have a guaranteed future.
"We have the example of Daniel [Ricciardo], two years ago he was in the top group of drivers and today he has no guarantee of a seat for next season.
"You always have to be at the top – beware those who give up!"