Rumours that Force India’s Esteban Ocon could move to Renault next season gathered steam in the F1 paddock. Paddock insiders are under the impression that the deal is as good as signed, sealed and delivered.
Ocon’s name cropped up on the French manufacturer’s list as a backup plan. This is in case Carlos Sainz is recalled to Red Bull, should Daniel Ricciardo leave the Milton Keynes-based outfit.
Mercedes is one of the first teams to confirm its line-up for 2019. Now, an extension of Ricciardo’s contract with Red Bull Racing appears to be close. In other words, Red Bull have closed their doors in Sainz’s face.
However, it is likely that Renault could snub the Spaniard and pursue a local option- Ocon – to its squad.
The 21-year-old is currently managed by Mercedes, and there have been meetings between Toto Wolff and Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul. This has definitely fanned the flames of the rumour mill.
Mercedes team principal, Wolff has even admitted that a move was a distinct possibility.
“Esteban is doing a very good job,” Wolff said.
“He has a lot of options, which is very good for him. Now we must choose what is the best for him. Renault is certainly one of the possibilities.”
However, Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer denied any such rumours of Ocon’s chances of moving on from the Silverstone’s based team.
“I do not think there is any agreement with Renault, in fact we have the option of staying with him,” the American said.
If Ocon’s transfer to Renault is confirmed, it would leave Sainz on the lurch. However, the F1 doors may not be closed entirely for the Spaniard. If another set of rumours are to be believed, he could find a new home at McLaren. The question is, will he be partnered with mentor Fernando Alonso in 2019 or will it be Vandoorne?