Ocon confirms ongoing Mercedes links ahead of 2025 vacancy

Esteban Ocon has confirmed he is still managed by Mercedes and comes under its roster of drivers amid the vacancy left by Lewis Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari for 2025.

Hamilton surprised many by opting to exercise a release clause in his Mercedes contract at the end of this season and move to Ferrari, having signed a new deal in the latter half of last year. That leaves Mercedes with all of 2024 to secure a replacement and multiple names have been linked to the seat. Ocon says he has strong ties but needs to deliver on track for Alpine to be in the frame.

“It is clear that I’ve got good links with Mercedes,” Ocon said. “I’m still managed by them in a way, I’m still a Merc junior even if I’m not that ‘junior’ any more. But my focus goes into the racing and into the plan that we have with Alpine and I need to focus on what’s on track, which is the most important. If that goes well, there’s always talk, rumors and the things that you guys love, that’s what’s happening when you do a good job.”


While Ocon didn’t offer a reaction to Hamilton’s move, he says it has triggered the driver market much earlier than usual and he expects it to lead to a long period of uncertainty regarding driver contracts.

“I knew it was going to be a crazy season, for sure,” he said. “I didn’t think it was going to start that early because in January it’s early, but it’s going to be like that all year so you guys will have a lot of paper to write!”

Ocon’s teammate Pierre Gasly believes Hamilton driving for Ferrari will boost Formula 1 as a whole, although he was also cautious about how it could impact his position in the driver market.

“I think it’s great for the sport,” Gasly said. “It’s a big move, the most successful driver of our sport leaving Mercedes after the most successful collaboration ever as a team and a driver in Formula 1. It was a bit of a now or never, Lewis is coming towards the end of his career and he grabbed that opportunity and Ferrari did as well so it’s going to be interesting to follow that.

“As a driver, I want to fight at the top of Formula 1. That’s what I do. I’ve been working every single day trying to chase every single thousandth of a second, hundredth of a second for a win because I want to fight for wins. And I’ve been fighting all my life with Max [Verstappen], Charles [Leclerc], Lando [Norris], George [Russell], all these guys, and that’s where I want to go ultimately and I really hope we manage to get that potential with Alpine and manage to get up there.”

Story originally appeared on Racer