Alpine already in talks with Ocon over new 2022 deal

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon’s strong start to the 2021 Formula 1 season looks likely to win him a contract extension at Alpine.

The 24-year-old returned to F1 last year with the team, previously known as Renault. Following a difficult start to his comeback Ocon scored a podium finish in the penultimate round and has carried that form into the new season.

While he is managed by Mercedes, the team’s CEO Toto Wolff recently said Alpine has first call on Ocon’s services. The team’s CEO Laurent Rossi said they have already begun discussions on extending their commitment.

“We were very grateful after Toto said that,” said Rossi in yesterday’s FIA press conference. “And it is indeed something we are considering.

Ocon has finished ahead of his new team mate, two-times world champion Fernando Alonso, in every race so far this year.

“Esteban is doing everything to make me consider keeping him in the team,” said Rossi. “I would be remiss if I didn’t think about it.

“At the moment, we are already engaged in some conversations with his agent, his management team, Mercedes at large. Esteban is a great driver so I’m happy to have that type of problem – which [it] is not actually.”

Rossi confirmed Ocon is their first choice for the seat, and denied the team is courting AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. “We’re not looking at any drivers for next year,” he said. “At the moment I am considering Esteban.

“Fernando is here next year with us. If we want to carry on with the momentum we have we will do that. Pierre is obviously a great driver of value but at the moment this is not on the cards, I would say.”

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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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14 comments on “Alpine already in talks with Ocon over new 2022 deal”

  1. Gasly, despite the speculation since last September, mightn’t be under consideration for now, but this doesn’t mean he couldn’t be later as things can change quickly. I’m confident Ocon will stay if he keeps on consistently outperforming and scoring Alonso. This would be unideal for Zhou (and co.), though, especially if he’d win the F2 championship, not that Team Enstone has ever really used their driver academy for its intended purpose anyway.

    1. I would have thought a Chinese driver in F1 would open teams up to whole range of potential new sponsors. If he wins F2 and Renault don’t want him, he’ll have plenty of options.

      1. I see your point there, but on the other hand I don’t see a lot of available seats for Zhou.
        Top teams are not interested in him yet, and the midfield is already full (McLaren, Ferrari, Alpine, Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin). I only see teams at the back of the grid with financial difficulties opening their doors to him (namely Williams, Haas, Alfa Romeo).

  2. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
    21st May 2021, 14:01

    So, where could Gasly go? If Vettel keeps his regular-to-low form this year, he could actually decide to leave. But going to Aston for Gasly sounds more like a side move, or even a step down. And Alpha Tauri is a good team for a rookie, but not for a driver with 3 seasons and a win under his belt (fortunate win or not, a win is a win).

    1. @omarr-pepper Worst-case scenario, he could end up without a drive altogether unless he gets a repromotion or none of the three RB-backed drivers in F2 perform decently enough for F1 promotion. For now, anything’s possible.

  3. One French driver is basically de rigueur. With the Merc link tenuous – I reckon he is third in the pecking order for the sister car if HAM extends – this might be OCO’s best option for some years. Hopefully, Alpine will be one of the teams to get it right from the start of the new era next year.

  4. If I was Alpine, I’d perhaps be a bit cautious around signing Gasly, as I believe akin to Vettel, Gasly is a driver who requires a planted rear-end to perform. Don’t give him that, and he’ll likely end up quite a bit off the pace. I hope Red Bull really do stick with their words of making Alpha Tauri their “sister” team as opposed to its “junior” team and keep ahold of Gasly. I don’t see many other options for Alpha Tauri in place of Gasly, as neither Liam Lawson or Juri Vips have yet proved they are good enough to be future Red Bull drivers.

    1. @mashiat Don’t forget Daruvala. Sister team, junior team, B-team, satellite team, however, one wants to call Alpha Tauri, it’s still the team for Red Bull to place their drivers from lower categories, so keeping Gasly would serve against this purpose. Only if none of the three in F2 performs decently enough, although staying in the B-team wouldn’t move Gasly’s F1 career forward as would’ve been the case with Sainz had he stayed.

      1. @jerejj I don’t think Daruvala is F1 quality or has the potential to be (I hope he proves me wrong), which is why I left him out.

    2. Electroball76
      22nd May 2021, 10:40

      Gasly’s being doing great at Alpha Tauri. I don’t see why they would want to kick out a consistent points scorer just because he is a bit “older” already. They can still keep the 2nd seat for trying out newer drivers like Yuki.

  5. Gasket should keep a low profile. If he doesn’t get the Red Bull seat next year, there’s a good chance an opportunity will open up at Alpine or Aston Martin

  6. @paeschli Aston Martin would only be an option if Seb gave up, as I doubt they’d terminate his two or three-year contract prematurely. Alpine is out of the question for now, at least, but things can change in this regard later.

  7. Given the money, etc going into Williams I can see that as an attractive place to go, particularly if you are considered the No 1 driver. They seem ambitious enough compared to the other back markers.

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