Ocon committed to Alpine but still linked to Mercedes

© XPB 

Despite Esteban Ocon being contracted to Alpine since 2020, the Frenchman remains affiliated with Mercedes according to the manufacturer’s junior driver advisor Gwen Lagrue.

Ocon’s long-standing relationship with Mercedes dates back to 2015 when team boss Toto Wolff took the then F3 charger under his wing.

Ocon's F1 debut came a year later in 2016 with the now-defunct Manor team, which was powered by Mercedes engines at the time. This initial opportunity provided Ocon with a platform to showcase his talent and earned him a full-time seat with Force India in 2017, another Mercedes engine customer.

After three seasons with the Silverstone-based outfit, Ocon found himself out of a seat when Lance Stroll joined the team, acquired in the interim by his father and rebrabded Aston Marting F1.

This setback led to a year as Mercedes' reserve driver, keeping Ocon within the Brackley squad’s family while he awaited a new opportunity.

In 2020, Ocon made the move to Enstone, joining Renault/Alpine with which he claimed his maiden Grand Prix win in Hungary in 2021.

Lagrue has confirmed that Ocon is still being managed by Mercedes, a situation that suggests that the manufacturer still has high hopes for Ocon’s future in F1.

"He's still very linked to us. He's an Alpine driver, and he's fully committed to Alpine, but we're still managing his career,” Lagrue told The Race.

"There are only 20 seats in Formula 1, and we are in a way pretty much all collaborating in the best interests of the sport. And in our case we have a very good relationship with Alpine and with others.

“And we always try to find the best solution to work together in the best interest of the team and the driver.”

Ocon has arguably struggled to shine consistently within F1’s midfield due to the limitations of Alpine’s equipment.

But Lagrue nevertheless noted the 27-year-old’s strong performance relative to former Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso in 2021 and 2022.

“To be honest, the last two years, what he did against also Fernando [Alonso] was pretty strong," he added.

"So we are not talking about always winning or doing podiums, etc… But still he did a very, very, very good job.

"And I think Fernando pushed him also to a limit he didn't know [in] himself, and he's still improving."

Esteban Ocon leads Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso in the 2022 Brazilian GP.

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter