Esteban Ocon Enjoying Spotlight of Rumor Mill
With teams already beginning to put together their driver line-ups for the next season and beyond, it’s not uncommon to see various names in the rumor mill connected to new places. Right now, one of those is Esteban Ocon. Thankfully, he is having fun with all the discussions so far.
“When there are rumors, it’s almost good,” he said. “It means that people are watching you on track and are quite happy with what you are doing. So, it’s always a nice thing. On my side, I’m always focused on the job I have to do, and I think yeah, if people talk about you there is always plenty of opportunities. So, we’ll see. I’m not worried.”
Currently driving for Force India, he has posted six top-10’s in 12 races, including a season-best sixth at Monaco – but also has failed to finish three races. The other factor is he is technically “managed by Mercedes,” which plays a role with the multiple decisions to be made.
Force India’s director Otmar Szafnauer did not have much to say on the topic, though, just stating he was happy Ocon was currently on their team.
“I’m glad there’s interest, he’s a great driver and glad we chose him a couple of years ago and have helped him to progress to the point where others are interested,” he said.
He did add though that they were not near making any decisions towards 2019 in regards to Ocon’s future, but “for him to go elsewhere we’d have to agree to that,” insisting that if necessary Mercesdes’ Toto Wolff will use “persuasive tools” to keep him if that’s the course they want to take.
While not saying much on Ocon’s future, Wolff insisted that they’ve done a good job so far.
“To date we are trying to set them a path that eventually will make them very successful long term; put then a position to be world champions maybe one day,” he said. “But with Valtteri and Lewis we have a line-up that is stable, that works for us, and at that stage there is no opportunity within Mercedes and if he has an opportunity somewhere else to be successful as a racing driver and another team or constructor to be successful with Esteban, we wouldn’t want to stand in the way.”
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