Despite currently racing for Force India, 21-year old French driver Esteban Ocon believes Valtteri Bottas’ days with Mercedes must be numbered, despite the Fin having signed a contract extension for another year, with a 2020 option.
Yet, Ocon, who was linked to Renault before Ricciardo decided to shake up the Formula One landscape, now finds himself in a position to further contemplate his future, while confident that his employer will eventually look to move him up.
“The bosses [at Mercedes] have plans for me that are ‘not yet’,” said the Frenchman in an interview with Autosport at the Hungaroring. “It’s not the plan for now. I think they want me to have more experience before I jump in that car. I knew that already. I have targets I have to respect.”
“At the moment they are happy with the job I’m doing. It’s just a matter of time, I think.”
Ocon added that he wasn’t surprised when Mercedes resigned Bottas and that he’s not worried about his future.
“My future will be sorted out soon. I’m not worried at all. The job we are doing with Force India this year is strong and everyone is happy with that.”
“What I’m sure of is that Mercedes is doing a great job with my management since I joined them. If I stay here [at Force India] or go somewhere else, I don’t know. But I will have a great position for sure next year.”
As of right now, Ocon’s best options for next year is to either remain with Force India and pair up with Lance Stroll, whose father led a consortium that saved the team financially, or to move to McLaren on loan, joining Carlos Sainz Jr. Afterwards, in 2020, he might indeed replace Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate.