Haas confirms Ocon ‘seriously’ in the running for 2025 seat

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Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu has confirmed that outgoing Alpine charger Esteban Ocon is under ‘serious’ consideration for a seat with the US outfit for 2025.

It was announced last week that Ocon and Alpine will part ways at the end of the season, which has fueled speculation over the Frenchman’s next move.

Haas has at least one seat to fill for 2025 following Nico Hulkenberg’s decision to join Sauber next year ahead of the Swiss outfit’s transformation into the Audi F1 works team.

However, Ferrari protégé Ollie Bearman, who enjoyed an impressive F1 debut and one-off with the Scuderia earlier this year in Jeddah, is believed to have been earmarked by Haas for a full-time campaign with the American team.

Bearman will be back in the saddle next week in Barcelona where the young Briton will take part in FP1 with Haas.

“We are evaluating him,” commented Komatsu last weekend in Montreal, quoted by Motorsport Week.

“If he’s not in consideration we wouldn’t be running him in the car in FP1, so next time he is going to be in the car is in Barcelona.”

With F1’s driver market in flux, Komatsu is casting a wide net in its search for talent for next season, and the Japanese team boss obviously believes that Haas and Ocon would make a good fit.

“He’s got a lot of experience, he is a race winner, he’s got podium finishes and has scored many points and then he worked with a few different teams,” Komatsu said.

“So he’s got a lot of experience which is what we are looking for, but also he’s still only 27, he’s still very young.

“And I think his commitment and work ethic is very, very good. I’m talking with several of the current F1 drivers, experienced guys, as well as some of the young drivers.

“So he’s definitely one of the several that I’m considering seriously.”

While Ocon is a strong candidate, Komatsu’s comments suggest that he is keeping his options open, and this includes a complete refresh of Haas’ driver line-up, with Kevin Magnussen possibly no longer in the picture for 2025.

However, the team’s strategic approach clearly favors pairing a young talent with an experienced driver, such as Ocon.

“I mean, as a team, you know, we are growing up,” he explained. “We are improving the team.

“So a pretty dynamic situation, so I think the mixture of good youth and then experience to give us the reference would be a pretty exciting combination.”

Regarding Ocon, the 27-year-old is rumored to also be high on Audi’s list of candidates.

However, the word in the paddock last weekend was that the Frenchman is not too keen on joining the German manufacturer’s F1 project. Hence his mutual interest in Haas which is making good progress this season in F1’s midfield under Komatsu’s management.

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