Formula 1 Racing

What’s next for Esteban Ocon in F1 after Alpine departure?

What's next for Esteban Ocon in F1 after Alpine departure?

The Frenchman’s five-year stay at the Enstone outfit has yielded a race victory and two further podium finishes, achievements that will ensure that he is coveted by a handful of teams with seats available for next season.

Speaking at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, before his impending Alpine departure was announced, Ocon stated that “the important thing is to be secure as early as possible,” as he was keen not to suffer a repeat of 2019 – where he was left on the sidelines when Racing Point/Force India replaced him with Lance Stroll.

“I don’t want to pay the price a second time, like there was at the end of 2018, which was not a good memory and was not for performance reasons,” he said.

“I think I’m doing a good job again this year and for the years that I’ve done in F1, I deserve to have a place [on the grid].”

Unlike his predicament in late 2018, Ocon has time to secure a seat on the grid for next season. There are some berths that are more likely targets than others, although he will be able to lean on his management team – led by Toto Wolff – for assistance in the market.

Haas – part of an all-new line-up with Bearman?

Ocon is known to be on Haas’ wishlist for 2025, as the American team assesses its options in the wake of Nico Hulkenberg’s announced departure to Sauber. It is expected that Ferrari reserve Oliver Bearman will take one of the seats, having impressed team principal Ayao Komatsu with his work ethic and performances in FP1 for the team.

Haas is not keen to repeat the travails of 2021 with an all-rookie line-up; the pairing of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin hurt the team’s bank balance with heavy repair bills, in a period when the team was up against it financially. Kevin Magnussen’s return when Mazepin was dropped on the eve of the 2022 season gave the team positive affirmation that retaining at least one experienced driver was preferable.

With Bearman assumed to be on the cusp of securing one seat, that leaves Ocon battling against Magnussen for the second. The Dane has been largely outperformed by Hulkenberg across their one-and-a-bit seasons together, raising questions about his consistency – and driving standards – in the process.

Magnussen’s retention thus hinges on whether Komatsu values continuity in 2025’s line-up. If Bearman’s time working with the team is deemed sufficient, then Ocon might just get the nod. Given Haas’ uptick in performance this year, it would be a much more attractive…

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