Does Ocon’s New Alpine Extension Clear the Way for George Russell to Join Mercedes?

Published 06/16/2021, 3:48 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – Williams’ George Russell during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Earlier, news broke that Esteban Ocon is re-signing with Alpine Racing. As it turns out, his contract lasts until the 2024 season, so he is secure for the next couple of years. However, this new deal couple have huge ramifications in the F1 driver market. To be precise, it could mean that George Russell has a clearer path to a Mercedes seat.

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This is because, both Ocon and Russell are Mercedes junior drivers. They are also the only ones remaining, after Pascal Wehrlein was let go from the program. Coming back to the subject, since Ocon and Russell are Mercedes affiliates, they will eventually be in line for a seat in the F1 team.

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The only question was, which one of them would be first in line. Now it seems that George Russell answered that question with Ocon’s Alpine contract. This means that the Briton will be largely unopposed if Mercedes decide not to renew Valtteri Bottas’ contract.

Will George Russell join Mercedes?

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The short answer is yes, but then again it is only a matter of time before the Mercedes team swoop in. Of course, there will be other interested parties, while Williams will be eager to retain him a bit longer. In light of this, Alpine F1’s Marcin Budkowski joked once, “I think they are all pretty tied in for George. And so, George, if you are watching this and if Toto hasn’t come back to you yet, give me a call.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Alpine’s Esteban Ocon arrives at the circuit ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Ultimately, Budkowski’s team has decided to settle for Ocon in their squad. Meanwhile, there could be an option for the second Alpine seat if Fernando Alonso decides to call time for good. For now, there is nothing concrete emerging from the Mercedes or Williams F1 camps. The reigning champions seem perfectly content with dragging out the situation for as long as possible. It also giver Valtteri Bottas plenty of time to give them reasons why they should retain him.

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DIVE DEEPER

‘Give Me a Call’ – Alpine Boss Would Like to Have George Russell in His Team

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Dhruv George

11766 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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