Ocon and Alpine agree contract extension until 2024

2022 F1 Season

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Alpine have announced Esteban Ocon has signed to the team through 2024, ahead of his home race at the French Grand Prix.

Ocon joined the team in 2020, returning after a year away from F1. He was out-scored by team mate Daniel Ricciardo but recorded the then-Renault-badged team’s best result of the year with a second-place finish at the Sakhir Grand Prix, Ocon’s first F1 podium.

This season, retirements have cost him points at the Bahrain and Azerbaijan Grand Prix but Ocon has otherwise finished ahead of team mate

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    Hazel Southwell
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    37 comments on “Ocon and Alpine agree contract extension until 2024”

    1. Big deal (no pun). Interesting to see both parties go for such a long term – I would have expected Renault to want to keep a short leash to see if they become title contenders with new Formula and Ocon happy to oblige should they end up well down the pecking order.

    2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      16th June 2021, 16:19

      Good for Esteban, but I guess that’s the door to Mercedes permanently closed. I guess it already was with Russell on his way, but that really shows the Merc-juniorprogram isn’t a very good bet. Wehrlein was also a victim of it, although he didn’t even get a proper shot in F1 unlike Ocon.

      Red Bull is coming up on the same issue really: Gasly being stuck in Toro Rosso and no top-team to go to. Red Bull won’t take him and all other teams have too many of their own already. Meaning one of the top drivers on this field will be stuck for many years, unless their team manages to close the gap. Don’t see Toro Rosso doing that, but neither Alpine…

      1. @barryfromdownunder
        I thought Gasly’s best shot to get out of RedBull/AlphaTauri was Alpine to replace Ocon. But Ocon really started this season well… so maybe Gasly can replace Alonso once he retires in 2023.
        The other ‘best’ option for him is for RedBull to seriously shift a lot of their resources to AlphaTauri because of the budget cap, in order to have 2 almost equal teams at the front to fight for wins and podiums. So Gasly would become the lead driver to a ‘top’ team.

        Other than these 2 options, there aren’t many. RedBull probably won’t take him back anytime soon and seeing how Perez settled in the 2nd RB seat, I think he’s gonna stay for some years there, until their young-drivers-program produce another star. Other options may include hoping for a surprise vacancy in McLaren/Aston Martin etc or maybe hoping for a shuffle in the pecking order and betting his hopes on a project like Williams or Alfa Romeo.

        1. @black Yes, Alpine in 2023 might still be an option.
          I doubt Red Bull would bring Alpha Tauri to the senior team’s level. Gasly realistically has, at maximum, one more season in the B-team as RB won’t forever avoid promoting another driver to F1 from lower single-seater categories. They have three drivers in F2 presently, so if none of those get an F1 chance next year, 2023 even more likely.
          I hope he gets repromotion, but I’m not hugely hopeful. Therefore, he may get screwed up in the longer term, given limited options elsewhere.

          1. @jerejj
            Personally I can see the Verstappen-Perez line up staying as it is, for 2-3 seasons.
            I can also see that although RedBull value Gasly (he’s a race winner and he has 2 more podiums – 75% of all Toro Rosso’s/AlphaTauri’s podiums), they are reluctant to repromote him as both sides see that Gasly works better in the AlphaTauri enviroment where he’s the leader, rather than the Verstappen-oriented enviroment of RedBull.
            Also because of the budget cap, some teams might redirect some of their huge resources to smaller teams (Ferrari to Alfa Romeo, RedBull to AlphaTauri), so Alpha Tauri might become a regular top-4 team with some of RedBull’s staff that might move there… maybe not as big as RedBull but being a stable near-the-top team like McLaren-Ferrari are right now.
            So it makes sense for RedBull to try to keep Gasly for more and place rookies next to him as a benchmark, if they fail then “bring on the next one”, if they succeed then “hello Mr. new No2 at RedBull”.

            So far Tsunoda isn’t setting the world on fire and if he doesn’t outperform Gasly next season, RedBull most likely will drop him.
            As for Gasly, if a vacancy appears somewhere, he’d better jump ship quick.

            1. With the budget cap coming into play, it’s definitely a good thing to focus some attention on the teams that brings good performance for money (AlphaTauri and Aston in particular). They might be interesting to watch in the coming years, and Gasly has been superb with AlphaTauri. I can definitely see him up there battling with the likes of Hamilton, Verstappen, Norris and Leclerc if cars allow. Wouldn’t mind that 5 ways fight for WDC (somehow I don’t see Alpine as budget efficient and Vettel having the right feel and consistency, hence the picks).

              This is surprising news after Alpine proudly commenting on their juniors coming up so strong and shutting the door to any promotion next year. I guess they will have to buy some seats in Haas to replace Mazepin(?), I don’t see much better for them. Maybe trying to squeeze someone at Williams if Georges graduate to Mercedes(?). Both feels like long shots. Wonder how Alpine juniors feel right now.

    3. I didn’t see this coming now. I was confident he’d continue, given Rossi’s words in Monaco, but didn’t expect a formal announcement about four weeks later. The three-year commitment is also a little surprising as I expected another two years, but the timing came as a surprise.

      1. Yes, three years is a bit surprising, although contract lengths don’t really mean much in F1 as teams are always happy to pay off drivers when they have an opportunity to get somebody better. I’m glad Ocon is staying, as he showed great potential at Force India, and has done well this year, although if I was Zhou, Piastri or Lundgaard I would be looking for a switch to a different junior team immediately!

    4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      16th June 2021, 16:42

      So Alpine/Renault’s junior academy really is pointless then.

      1. @rocketpanda Pretty much the whole time since inception.

    5. Done and settled quicker than Mercedes.

    6. Hmm. So what of Gasly then? I guess he will stay put yet another year or two at Alpha Tauri then.

      Not a bad choice to be honest. There are barely any good drives available for 2022 (Apart from Mercedes, but we already know who is in the running for the seat and who is not). But there could be better options in 2023 / 2024. Mercedes in place of Lewis, Aston Martin in place of Vettel, Mclaren in place of Ricciardo / Norris, Renault in place of Alonso, Ferrari in place of Sainz.

      And this is obviously very bad news for Bottas. He will now have to go from Mercedes right down to Williams / Alfa Romeo / Haas

      1. @sumedh Realistically, one more season at maximum in the Red Bull B-team because of the driver program.

      2. Maho Pacheco
        16th June 2021, 20:41

        Assuming there is some truth in the DtS footage, seems Bottas would retire from F1 and look for another racing series.

        1. I think that would be best for him. He really seems to have gotten in a rather sad rut, where he doesn’t have all that much fight in him. He seems to be happy and perform well in rallying, so that might be the best option.

        2. That would be good for all I guess, totally makes sense

      3. @sumedh

        Gasly will probably move to Alpine for 2023, however, national pride aside, it would remain to be seen if that would be a sensible move. Due to their radical engine layout change, I doubt Alpine will be anywhere close to winning in 2023, let alone 2022.

        Having said this, Gasly is young, so is Ocon, with Alpine committing to the long term, one would expect the issues to be eventually solved. I’d say by 2025 (I believe this is last year of the current PU?), we could have another 2012 on our hands.

        Alonso will leave at the end of 2022, there will be no reason for him to stick around.

        1. @jaymenon10 2024 will be the last for the current PU, but yes, it could become another 2012 in some scenario(s). Regarding Alpine, maybe not next year, but more likely 2023, if ever.

    7. Good move. Ocon is getting good if comparing to Alonso is anything to go by, and why shouldn’t it. Don’t know if Gasly or anyone else would be better.

    8. I bet it’s 3 years with a clause that if Mercedes come in for him, he can go.

      I still think he’s more likely to end up in a Merc alongside Hamilton than Russell is.

      1. @mrcentro As far as I’m aware, Ocon no longer has any formal ties to the Mercedes team, as Renault came knocking of their own accord in 2019 (for 2020). The link is still there in some capacity though as Wolff is Ocon’s manager.

      2. I really don’t see Merc swooping in for Ocon any time. Ocon was a free agent at the end of 2018 but Mercedes didn’t make any room for him, either at the senior team in place of Bottas or at Williams in place of Kubica. Mercedes easily had the option of giving a sweeter engine deal and get Ocon in place of Kubica then. Same situation was present at end of 2019 but once again Mercedes didn’t do anything for Ocon.

        And when it came to Russell, Mercedes did move swiftly enough to put him in place of Lewis within a matter of few days for the Sakhir one-off.

        I think Mercedes’ priority is clear. They see Russell as the next big superstar. And given the pace of the car, Mercedes can easily attract the best of the talent for the 2nd seat. Ocon doesn’t feature in Mercedes’ short term plans anymore.

      3. @mrcento His current contract is 100% team-specific rather than a loan one, so I doubt the next one would be different. People should stop thinking about him in a Mercedes-related context because he was effectively let go when joining Team Enstone. Toto being his manager, is the only link left, nothing more formal or direct.

    9. Maho Pacheco
      16th June 2021, 20:43

      Gasly in 2022 or 2023, with Ocon and Alpine will have a HUGE marketing edge as a “truly” French team.

      1. And it will be quite an explosive team mates, because IIRC Ocon and Gasly aren’t best of mates since their junior career..

        1. No as bad as Max and Ocon …. :)

        2. @reza-pratama24 What happened in go-karting was forever ago and has zero impact on any F1 team, so hardly relevant. Alpine couldn’t care less about something such trivial.

    10. Good news for Ocon not having to worry about contract negotiations for the next few years, but is he still keeping his ties to Wolff and Merc?
      I’m still of the mind Russel to Merc next year to replace Bottas and Ocon coming in later to give Merc/AMG a young and very talented pair of drivers heading to 2030.

      1. @johnrkh Only Toto being his manager if anything.

    11. Pleased for Ocon. He’s impressed me and if I recall correctly he had a pretty hard road even getting to F1.

      He’s definitely got talent and if Alpine deliver a good 2022 chassis I expect him to be challenging near the pointy end.

    12. A lot of talk about Gasly in all this. I too can see him joining Ocon soon enough but also Alpine are also only 7th in the constructors right now, Alpha tauri actually look the better team

      1. I am sure Gasly stays at Alpha Tauri for 2 years after that it will be interesting…

        If you have to believe Max he wants to stay at Red Bull for a while.

        1. @macleod, I wouldn’t be so sure. Gasly realistically has one more season, at maximum, at Alpha Tauri because of Red Bull’s driver program, as they won’t forever avoid promoting another driver to F1, so if none gets a chance next season, 2023 even more likely.

          1. @jerejj, If things are going as it goes i think there will be a stall (no room at RB) or young Tsunoda must become epic. There will be no room to promote Gasly and there isn’t any beter team who has a spot free so he stays. (He is good enough)
            I don’t see many new drivers coming to F1 or it’s to replace a other paydriver. All those programs are now getting stuck Mercedes is stuck, Red Bull is stuck, Alpin maybe after 2023 when Alonso leaves, McLaren is still full for 2 years so no new drivers there also. Ferrari i don’t think they will swap drivers but maybe Alfa Romero when Kimi leaves..

            1. @macleod I’m not as pessimistic as you about the future beyond next season. I agree with you on next season specifically, but beyond, too premature for definitive conclusions at this point.

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