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Remember that season Esteban Ocon was cast out from the then-Racing Point seat and was drive-less for 2019. The same year, Mercedes came in with an offer for a reserve role for the Frenchman and he took it up. After spending the year with Mercedes, he got a call from Alpine (then Renault) and the rest, as we all know, is history. Some would say that staying around the paddock and working with a team of Merecedes’ caliber got him the seat because of which he’s still traveling with the circus. However, this isn’t the first time Toto Wolff has come to Ocon’s rescue. The French driver recently revealed another incident where he reportedly bombarded Wolff with calls.

This incident is from 2015 right after Ocon won his F3 Euro Championship title, the same series where Max Verstappen finished third. However, as we all know, Verstappen got the nod for an F1 seat and Ocon was struggling to find a drive for the 2015 season with his current team on the brink of bankruptcy. This is when Ocon got in touch with Toto Wolff as he had met the boss and won the championship in a Mercedes engine. Ocon called and Wolff answered, a tale he narrated in the latest episode of the High-Performance podcast.

“It’s things that were out of our control, let’s say. That’s the moment where I was actually about to work with my dad as a mechanic, as well because the program I was in, which was called Lotus F1 Team Jr. and Gravity Sports Management had no money for me to continue at the time,” he revealed.

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He then revealed how he sought Toto Wolff’s help. He revealed, “In this transition from 2014-15 I was on the phone constantly calling Toto at the time and asking him if there was any solultions for me, because I met him during that year. Because I won with a Mercedes engine in F3. With Gwen, Toto, and Fred Vasseur, we found a solution for us to be able to continue racing and to race in GP3 and I won the title as well, so I got in the Mercedes junior program.”

Read More: Oliver Bearman’s ‘Smart’ Response to Esteban Ocon’s Extreme Racing Tactics Gets Appreciated by Ex-F1 Racer

So this is when Ocon started building his relationship with Mercedes and the boss. He’s already favored the Frenchman twice in his career and it’s still paying off. Will Wolff give him another chance? Only time will tell. However, Ocon seems confident as this is exactly what he was talking about when he said he has “strong links” with the German team.

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Esteban Ocon highlights his strong links with Mercedes

Even though almost every worthy driver on the grid is linked with Mercedes, only one will get the job. Many have varying opinions on who should be replacing Lewis Hamilton. However, it will come down to the best option, according to Wolff, and this is where Ocon’s strong links will come in handy. This is exactly what he highlighted at the start of the season, even if some see his teammate better suited for the role.

At the A524 launch, he told the media, “I obviously still have strong links with Mercedes, I’m still a Mercedes junior driver, that is no secret to anyone. But I’m totally dedicated to Alpine this year, I’ve got 24 races to get through and we’ll see where we end up.”

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However, the way Alpine’s season is progressing, he might need to pick up the phone and start calling again. The Frenchman might miss out on the most competitive seat in his career if his team doesn’t give him the tools to showcase his talents. And with the way things are currently going on, many fear that’s exactly where Alpine is headed. What do you think?

Written by

Mahim Suhalka

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Mahim is a senior Formula 1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a Diploma in Sports Management, he ventured into sports journalism for his sheer passion for F1. Mahim has written over 2000 articles during his tenure at ES, and his expertise is in perspective pieces and core sports coverage.
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Edited by

Ariva Debnath