Esteban Ocon, Force India, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Ocon hopes qualifying performance will help him keep F1 seat

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon says he hopes more results like his qualifying performance at Spa today will help him keep his place in Formula 1.

The Force India driver took qualified a career-best third for the Belgian Grand Prix. However his future is in doubt as Williams driver Lance Stroll has been tipped to take his place at the team. As RaceFans revealed earlier today Stroll is expected to do a seat fitting at Force India next week.

Ocon admitted there are questions over his future but believes he can make a case for keeping his place in F1.

“For sure my future is not done,” he said during the press conference after qualifying. “I don’t know where I will race next year or what I will do.

“So as I said the only thing I can do is to do well on track, to focus, do the same job as before, try to do the best. If you do a strong job in Formula 1 the team they can’t skip you, they need to have you. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who qualified ahead of Ocon, praised the 21-year-old’s performances so far. Vettel said he hopes Ocon doesn’t get overlooked in the 2019 driver market.

“Unfortunately it’s a bit nowadays our times that a new guy comes in and he’s a superhero, and then another guys comes in and he’s a superhero, and by that time the first guy’s easily forgotten even though he’s doing a good job but not really considered any more as in talked about and written about.

“That’s why I think it’s good for him to have this result today and he should get mentioned I think.”

Ocon said it was “awesome” to hear praise from two multiple world champions.

“Of course I want to be racing next year, I’m doing everything for it, I’m doing everything for it I’m working very hard every day for it. To hear great things from those two champions is just fantastic.

“I will see what the future is going to bring. I’m managed by Mercedes, and they’ve taken great decisions for me in the past, so I’m sure it will be the same again for me in the future hopefully, and I will be sorted out.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Ocon hopes qualifying performance will help him keep F1 seat”

  1. Desolé Esteban, but with how f1 is at the moment, you are screwed. I was hoping to be one of your fans in the future once Lewis retires. However, it looks like you won’t be there anymore. I also had the same for Wehrlein and was a Wehrlein fan and he was removed. Now Ocon? How will Mercedes find talent? What could have been…

    Sauber: Leclerc- Wehrlein
    Force India: Ocon-Perez

    Damn this would have been a superb future for F1 along with Max’s rise…

    1. McLaren, Williams, Sauber, RBR, Haas all in need of a good driver Ocon should be fine.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        25th August 2018, 22:58

        Yeah, Haas still has an open seat

    2. Don’t worry @krichelle, Esteban’s career is driven by Toto Wolff. There’s a place in the Mercedes for him already. He could replace Bottas as soon as he’s ready: why would Hamilton get multi-year contrats but Bottas only year-on-year ones? I think it’s just a matter of when will Ocon join Mercedes.

  2. He has done a fantastic job against Perez and finding a seat in F1 will not be a problem for him.

  3. Unfortunately Money Plays…. Right Stroll, Sirotkin, Erricson

    1. You can add perez aswell, and now kubica also.

      1. Perez and kubica showed to be good drivers, even if they have been paying initially kubica was around massa level at his best, perez isn’t much different either, they’re people who are at least deserving of a midfield seat, only wondering if they could ever have a top seat, but they have a place in f1 no matter the money.

  4. F1 desperately needs to sort itself out and get some more teams aboard. It is sad to see so many talented drivers going to race somewhere else because there aren’t enough seats available. Sure the Stroll situation is pathetic and annoying (and especially murky), but in essence he is a pay driver who is taking someone’s seat like many others have done in the past. Liberty would always need time to sort things out, but it seems to me that they are starting to lag behind a bit.

  5. It’d be a massive shame if he were to be left without a drive for next season or even as soon as after this race. Even just the thought of him potentially being left without a drive in F1 doesn’t sound right.

  6. This just shows this bussines\spor tis damaged from every angle. Guy get’s 2nd row start and booted from the team same day.

  7. Times have really changed. In the past we’d be shown graphs,.some confusing statistics and videos while an attempt is made to sell a product to replace a perfectly good one.
    But the Strolls are not even bothering with the pretense, he’s probably already done his seat fitting and had his new overalls sewn.
    But let’s look at the bright side.

    It’s better, …”Dad I want to be an F1driver: Okay I’ll buy an F1 team”
    Than, …”Dad I want to be a doctor: Okay I’ll buy a medical school”

  8. Mark in Florida
    25th August 2018, 19:21

    He probably won’t go to Haas with his Mercedes connection. But… Williams will pick him up at the end of the year if Robert doesn’t work out. Williams might give Robert the rest of the year to show his pace against Sirotkin or they could jump the gun and sign Ocon immediately to prevent someone else from getting him. Ocon is too good to just go away right now along with the fact that Merc is behind him. But who knows he may end up at McLaren if all else fails. I hope not that’s surely some kind of cruel and unusual punishment for someone of his talents. Maybe Vandoorn will go to Indy car and be a superstar and be appreciated for once. This is a unexpected silly season for the drivers for sure. On second thought maybe Haas could use a good Belgian driver in place of a certain Frenchman.

  9. Obviously it is not about just one or two strong results. Stroll has been impressive on occasion, too. But Ocon has been constantly matching or even outperforming his much more experienced team mate, who is considered to be a very solid midfield driver or even deserving of another chance at a top team. So the facts speak for themselves.

    I am not as disappointed about Stroll’s anticipated promotion to RPFI as a lot of fans seem to be. He has shown his potential now and then (funny enough, a wet qualifying a year ago was one of such cases) and might become more consistent when he gets a better / more stable car. But it is true that this situation is wrong.

    F1 can keep talking or it can make practical steps to make sure that young drivers as strong as Ocon do not have to face the prospect of spending the next season in an LMP2 car. More teams, fairer prize money distribution, possibly budget caps or more standard parts – the solutions are well-known.

  10. I think we have to accept that Lance Stroll will be racing with Force India after this weekend, but that doesn’t mean Esteban will be out of F1. My guess is he’ll be on the “Reserve Bench” at Williams … although I’m sure some of the new shareholders at FI will be wishing he was on their Reserve Bench too.

  11. Stroll was bought a F1 seat not once, but twice, and doesn’t seem to be a very promising driver (absolutely humiliated by Massa). Even his junior career was founded upon tons of $$$ by his rich father.

    Meanwhile, Ocon is probably the driver with the poorest financial background (his parents actually sold their house and lived in a motorhome just to fund his career) and despite this pressure, he showed great promise both in junior formulaes (being on par with Max “The Next Schumacher/Senna” Verstappen) and F1 (being on par with the then-#1 Mercedes junior, and then with a highly rated midfield driver).

    So yeah, currently I just don’t care about Stroll. I even think he actually has potential to be solid, but came in F1 much too early. But if Ocon gets Werhlein’d out just because Stroll insists on wasting good cars instead of bad ones, I can tell you I will wish for his F1 career to end as soon as possible, and ideally in a rather humiliating fashion.

    1. Thing is his father has too much money, based on wiki updates he didn’t even lose any money the last years, despite spending a lot to buy stroll the seat and then force india, as long as it’s him making decisions I don’t see how stroll can get out of f1.

  12. Goodbye Robert Kubica you tried your best but Uncle Toto wants the seat back!

  13. YellowSubmarine
    26th August 2018, 1:34

    So long as there are team company bills to be paid and wage commitments to meet, the man with the deep pockets will dictate the tune.
    F1 is in a self-destructive sponsorship spiral driven by its race circuit hosts, mandating the phasing out of most ‘sin’ sponsors – the alcohol guys, the gambling guys, etc who have all the money to throw at sports – and has banned tobacco sponsors…that leaves teams open to sponsorship by a few rich billionaires, the rich men have sons and dreams, and the circus rolls on, ad nauseum.
    Stroll has the money and thus deserves the seat, like it or not. Deal with it.

  14. Really hope he keeps seat. Fantastic driver.

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