Esteban Ocon, Force India, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Ocon wants one-year Williams deal in case “good opportunities” appear in 2020

2018 F1 season

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Esteban Ocon confirmed he wasn’t prepared to commit to Williams for more than a single season as he hopes there will be “good opportunities” for him in 2020.

Mercedes customer team Williams is likely to Ocon’s last chance to find a place on the grid for the 2019 F1 season. He is expected to lose his Force India seat to Lance Stroll and Red Bull will not offer the second Toro Rosso seat to a Mercedes-backed driver.

Wednesday’s announcement that Ocon’s team mate Sergio Perez will remain at the team next year “doesn’t change much” for Ocon, he said.

“At the moment we are still on the same level. Still discussions, there are still possibilities for me next year. But really if that’s not the case and if I don’t find a seat next year we see still good opportunities for 2020.”

Ocon could be eyeing a move to Mercedes if the team does not take up its option on Valtteri Bottas’s services for a fourth season.

Last week Williams confirmed George Russell will make his F1 debut for them next year. Ocon said Russell is “not at all stealing my spot” as he has signed a longer-term deal with the team.

“It’s good to see that George is promoted,” said Ocon. “He’s also part of the Mercedes junior programme. He signed for multiple years, that was not our intention to sign for those many years.

“There’s still a second seat in the Williams, there’s still talks so we’ll see where that goes.”

Williams are currently last in the constructors’ championship but Ocon believes they could be much more competitive in 2019.

“Next year the rules are changing there’s new front wing, new aero package. It’s going to be different.

“I think the year Williams had it’s not the one they deserved and not the one they really shown in the past. Last year I remember them fighting hard with us. They were quicker than us the first half of the season then we went quicker at the end. But I remember them quick and competitive so I don’t think that will last for very long.”

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2018 F1 season

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47 comments on “Ocon wants one-year Williams deal in case “good opportunities” appear in 2020”

  1. Really hope he gets a drive for next year, he certainly is a good driver for a team to have due to consistent driving and can handle pressure and press better than his current hot head teammate.

    1. He seems to have two drives for next year: Williams on a 2-year deal, or STR if letting go of his Mercedes backing.

      But Ocon (mistakingly IMO) thinks that he has a good chance of a 2020 Mercedes seat.
      If Bottas continues his wingman duties then there is no need to replace him. If Hamilton leaves then they need a #1 driver (not Ocon yet).
      And if Russell does well then he will be a direct competitor (with more recent experience) for any 2020 Mercedes backed seat.

  2. Press better ? … four points behind in the championship … What Formula 1 do you watch ? What has Ocon shown that is so extraordinary ?

    1. I don’t get that too. He got beaten by Sergio last year and even despite all the troubles Perez was going through behind the scenes this year, Ocon is still behind.
      He is being picky without any real position to be picky. I hope Williams won’t take him on board over Kubica/Sirotkin. He never was a team player at Force India and only caused problems with his teammate. In my view, he is way overrated.

      1. Is it necessarily such a bad performance to be only four points behind Perez?

        Perez has been a pretty solid king of the midfield pack for the past few years, and he’s beaten other fairly well regarded drivers by larger margins than that in the past. Hulkenberg is often held in high regard by posters here, but he’s been beaten by much larger margins – losing by 20 points in 2015 and 29 in 2016 – showing that Perez is not exactly easy to beat.

        When you think about it, Perez is a pretty solid benchmark – he’s fairly experienced by now (151 race starts), but still comparatively youthful (28) and has a lot of experience with his current team (five seasons now), so you would expect him to have a fair few advantages over a comparatively less experienced driver like Ocon (with 46 starts, he’s only got a third of Perez’s experience).

        1. So if ocon deserves a mercedes seat more than bottas, like many here are saying, so does perez!

  3. I hope he doesn’t get a drive for next year, no team wants him and here he is trying to dictate terms with the only teams that is willing to sign him. Get over it mate, hope he doesn’t get a seat.

  4. Can’t help but feel this is narrow-minded from Ocon. Is he a good driver; yes. Has he done enough to prove himself worthy of a top-running car…not sure. It feels very arrogant to assume that he won’t get “good opportunities” driving for Williams, has he not realised where Bottas was before Mercedes signed him!?

    1. Bottas did not move from inferior team to williams. Bottas moved from gp3 to f1. For ocon moving from force india to williams is a big step down and if he has to do 2 years at williams he is effectively wasting his career. Best case scenario he can match his force india achievements in one or two lucky races. Williams is going to lose lots of money when stroll takes his moneybags to force india and the williams car is already one of the worst on the grid. While better driver will offset the worse car to some degree chances are it is zero sum effect in the end and williams will be in the same position next year. Not a car where you can showcase any kind of talent with good finishes. With force india ocon can fight for the division 2 championship. The driver championship positions from 7th to 11th are just 4 points apart.

      It becomes even worse than that when you analyze stroll’s exit even further. Williams has probably spent already quite a lot of stroll money developing the next year’s car. But in the season after next year the team will have much less resources. The second season at williams where ocon should be making his best finishes to be in the run for any driver openings in the top teams he will most likely be struggling with very poor car. He may think 2019 is bad but 2020 is when it is going to get really bad when the effect of losing stroll’s money is really felt.

      The mid field is also becoming more and more competitive every year. Next year when red bull has to drive with honda engines they’ll probably occasionally drop down to the mid pack as well making it really competitive between renault, perez, haas and mclaren. What chance does williams have in that group with less money and tougher opposition? The mercedes engine is good but that alone is not enough anymore. The sauber’s and haas’ ferrari is just as good and force india also has the same engine. And mclaren and renault have a lot more money. Mclaren might make another bad car next year but renault team is unlikely to move anywhere from its 4th place.

      Williams is a massive downgrade for ocon. I can’t really think of worse team in f1 at the moment.

      1. While going to Williams is a step down, how should one rate a step to out of contract? I think a step to Williams is better than a step to no seat.

        1. Actually Williams won’t lose money from the Stroll’s, they have to buy out his contract

          1. Stroll doesn’t have a 2019 contract with Williams; hence no buy-out.

          2. I think the actual case would be that williams would need to buy out stroll’s contract. Williams did not hire stroll to drive their cars. Stroll hired williams to provide him a seat in f1.

  5. Robert Kubica met with the Polish Premier and a Polish petroleum company this week, rumours suggest he will receive more than twice as much backing as he came up with last year. I’d rather see Williams take a driver who wants to drive for them, and not take Ocon. If Mercedes are as keen on Ocon as they appear, then sign Ocon for 2020 and dump underperforming bottas.

    1. What makes you think Bottas is underperforming? He’s actually the perfect teammate to Hamilton:

      He doesn’t directly compete with Lewis.
      He’s strong enough to ensure the constructors title.
      He doesn’t complain about team orders.
      He doesn’t bring any drama to the team.

      Ocon has shown he’s a competent driver but he has also shown some attitude problems. Why would Merc want to introduce that to a peaceful AND successful environment with Bottas? If you were in Toto’s place, then wouldn’t you be doing everything you can to hold on to Bottas for as long as Lewis is around?

      1. Because a driver should be driving to win, and bottas doesn’t seem good enough to win. He also lacks a fighting spirit, he has been completely demoted to a number 2 driver this year, and that will no doubt last for the rest of his career.

      2. He doesn’t directly compete with Lewis.
        He’s strong enough to ensure the constructors title.
        He doesn’t complain about team orders.
        He doesn’t bring any drama to the team.a

        Copy James.

        1. May I add that when hamilton underperforms bottas can be competition for vettel, which most of the times doesn’t happen in ferrari?

          Canada, china this year, brazil, austria, russia last year for some examples.

  6. Isn’t Ocon being a bit picky now? Williams is still a great team to be part of, even if they were far behind this year. I mean i understand that he’s eyeing Bottas’ place at Mercedes, but if he doesn’t have a drive in 2019 and Russel hits the ground running, Ocon might be out for good. Not to say that Bottas is what Mercedes (and Hamilton) really want in order to achieve their goals: a driver that gets good points, keeps it clean (especially in regards to his teammate) and doesn’t really make a fuss when he’s told to take one for the team.

    1. Isn’t Ocon being a bit picky now? Williams is still a great team to be part of, even if they were far behind this year.

      @gechichan

      Agree. Beggars can’t be choosers, and Ocon needs to recognise that. F1 has a short memory, and a year out of the sport may see him vanish off the grid for good like his Wehrlein. If Russell turns out to be an exceptional talent like Leclerc, then more likely than not, it’s game over for Ocon’s Mercedes drive.

      I do rate Ocon relatively highly. I’d rate him higher than Stroll, Sirotkin, Hartley, Gasly, Perez, Magnussen, Sainz, Raikkonen and Grosjean. He’s better than half the grid to be honest, but that still isn’t good enough to be a favourite for that Mercedes seat. I think he needs to take a deep look at the fact that he’s just marginally better than Perez. Perez isn’t good enough to be considered for a Ferrari, Mercedes or a Red Bull drive, so it’s not like he’s a shoe in for that seat.

      Williams giving him a seat would be great. He could go up against Russell and show that he’s worth of being Mercedes’ best available option. He gets to stay on the grid and constantly improve up until the right opportunity finds him. Right now, I think Ocon is acting a little self entitled and presumptuous. I think it’s silly that he isn’t taking a two year contract with a team such a Williams.

      1. Perez isn’t good anough for those top drives based on what? He has been best of the rest for 3 years, beating Ocon itself and Hulk, he’s the only one out of the top 6 that has achieved podiums recently, he is consistent and dependable, only thing he lacks is an European last name (I know, Perez last name is Spanish in origin, but you know what I mean).
        Ocon is good, but until proven otherwise, Perez is better, period.

        1. Indeed, perez really deserves a chance with a top team, mclaren 2013 wasn’t.

      2. I agree. Whether the contract were for one or two years, a contract is better than no contract, which is what he’s got at the moment. Every race you get free advertising to prove your still worth considering for a seat when your current contract expires. Two years would take him to the end of 2020.

  7. If we look to Hulkenberg, Ocon is making the right decision. Hulk, great talent but not the best decisions and should be in Ferrari by now. Ocon, great talent and protecting his Merc drive chances (looks ugly from the outside but it’s working). It helps that Toto is there.

    Didn’t Massa and Kimi take a step back to get into a WC Ferrari before?

    1. In what universe is Hulk a great talent? He’s the new Sutil and hasn’t shown anything worthy of a drive in a top team. Luckily, his career will most likely be over after next year with RIC as his team mate.

    2. Alonso took a year off f1 in 2002 to be Renault reserve driver. Ocon can do the same

  8. This is why I don’t like Ocon, always arrogant, like no team other than mercedes deserves him. He drives for FI but doesn’t want to be there, and now the same for Williams… he should focus on the team he is at and not just on mercedes. He hasn’t proved anything yet, he is good in quali, but that’s basically it, you can not eye a mercedes drive without beating your teammate first, snd so far is 2 years in a row.

    1. It’s harsh to say he doesn’t want or deserve to be at FI. He’s been forced out because the team is bankrupt, and Perez brings hefty sponsorship & Stroll’s dad bought the team to place him in it.

      1. “Perez brings hefty sponsorship” … Forgot to mention (perhaps, conveniently) that Perez brings podiums and best of rest and fourth in constructors’ championship …

      2. And also, he isn’t alone insofar as being a young driver who is targeting a seat at the team which hs nurtured him. Think Gasly or Leclerc were looking past RBR and Ferrari?

        1. While eyeing a drive at their top teams (which is more than ok), they did it with their heads down and actually beating their teammates and being part of the team. They didn’t treat their team as just another step to their means

  9. Imagine Russel making performances out of this world in 19, and that good opportunity goes to him, because some stuburn kid thought that a 2 year contract in a F1 team wasn’t really what he was looking for.

    Yes Russel has a 2 year contract, but he is a Merc driver, that becomes just a paper, or worse. Imagine Mercesea using Ocon to rescue Russel from Williams, wouldn’t that be a fun?

  10. So, Bottas back to Williams in 2020 then?

  11. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    19th October 2018, 9:41

    I can understand why he wants a 1-year contract as he’s clearly got eyes on a Mercedes seat in 2020, but from Williams perspective why would they take him then? That shows he has no interest in sticking around, no interest in them or their team and is only focused on where he could be after them – that all they are to him is a stop-gap. That’s pretty disrespectful to someone that wants you. It’s probably why Red Bull won’t touch him while he’s backed by Mercedes, and rightly so? Why invest in someone who isn’t willing to invest in you? If Williams are chasing performance over money they’d do better to sign someone that actually wants to drive their car – Sirotkin and Kubica suddenly look more preferable.

    A little disappointed in his attitude and my sympathy for him is drying up now. Two teams after him and he won’t sign because it doesn’t fit his wants? He’s good but not a WDC? How many drivers out there would kill for a seat in Toro Rosso or Williams? He doesn’t know what’s going to happen in 2019 and people have shorter memories than thinks – he could find himself out of luck and out of a seat for good, despite his talent.

    1. This is exactly what I’ve been saying all this time.
      He cares for no team except Mercedes, he acts like he has a divine right to drive for merc, he just forgets he has to earn it first.

    2. @rocketpanda TBH, I have to agree with you more or less entirely even though Ocon is one of my favorite current F1-drivers.

    3. Exactly. Who at Williams is going to see this and think he’s a good investment now?

      Ocon’s PR manager needs to be fired. He can’t be making these types of comments when there’s a very good chance he may not even be in F1 next year.

      1. I agree with a lot of comments on here. I have not seen all they much to indicate that he is a good as he thinks he is.

        Ocon has done pretty well so far but he seems to think he has some divine right to a seat at Merc. He might be waiting longer than he thinks.

        In Williams’ shoes I would say the deal is for 2 years. Take it or leave it. There are several out there who would.

  12. Read all your comments. My opinion is that Ocon is correct to be straight forward about his position and aspirations. Plus it sounds like Wolff may have made him a promise!

    Plus, why would Williams plan on hiring a driver for only one year, unless there is a huge financial benefit being offered as a reward by Mercedes.

    As Williams are rebuilding with an eye on the long-term picture, I would expect them to be hoping to secure a strong driver (fast and strong technical feedback) on a multi-year deal.

  13. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Ocon’s attitude what’s with all the nasty comments.
    If opinions are based on facts they would be more acceptable, and understandable, without unnecessary nastiness… Or am I missing something with some online-gurus…?
    And why do so many people have the opinion that only their opinions are valid…? and cannot help criticising the opinions of others.
    Sure beats me.

  14. I wish Williams would get him signed asap. He is super quick and deserves an F1 seat. Together with Russell, they will make the loss of pay driver income up by scoring points and increasing Williams share of the pot.

  15. So if he signed a multi year deal with the bottom team and a spot in a top team became available in 2020 would everyone say he made a great decision?

    His management (and they would be the ones deciding this) would be crazy to waste him like that.

    Driving for Williams would not be a good move for him, especially given that Williams will favour their English driver.

    1. What top team is coming knocking for Ocon in 2020? Especially if he’s out of F1? Ocons F1 record might show 3 years, 3 losses to team mate at the end of the season.

  16. If case something good appear lol
    Williams’s stock is at the botton of the ocean.

  17. Ocon is going to end up nowhere! In the end Mercedes will measure the performance of Bottas vs Ocon (but if he is not driving in 2019 there won’t be any). Guess we all know who is going to win that battle then!

    He needs to be in the paddock as active driver so people can gauge his performance. Bottas is performing really well and Hamilton’s replacement will be Verstappen or some top tier driver and not Ocon if Ham decides to leave.

    His attitude isn’t good right now. Toto can promise all the world to him but words and contracts are as good as nothing in F1. He better not bite at that and lose his chance to drive in 2019.

  18. Ocons finished behind his team mate in the WDC standings for last 2 years, currently behind his team mate in year 3, and all of a sudden people are convincing themselves he deserves a top drive with Mercedes ahead of Bottas. Ocon is good but currently being over-hyped IMO.

    1. Yes, don’t see how he has showed to be better than bottas so far, I don’t see him being able to do more than bottas is doing, if given a merc.

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