F1: Wolff suggests Ocon likely to stay at Alpine

(GMM) Esteban Ocon does not appear to be in the running for a works Mercedes seat for 2022.

Team boss Toto Wolff has made it clear he wants to retain Lewis Hamilton, but strong rumors are linking George Russell with Valtteri Bottas’ current position.

As for Ocon, the 24-year-old was another Mercedes junior but he is currently on loan to Alpine.

The Frenchman is currently impressing at the Enstone team alongside F1 legend Fernando Alonso.

“I made a few changes in my team over the winter,” Ocon said in Barcelona. “The guys are amazing. We went to the factory together after Portugal to prepare. Nobody wanted to rest.

“With more experience, I know the car and the team better. We are now better at implementing what I say when we set up the car,” he added.

As for the suggestion his current form might put him in the running to replace Bottas at Mercedes, he said on Saturday: “I want to concentrate on my job at Alpine.”

Wolff seems to agree that Ocon staying at the French team is the most likely outcome for 2022.

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team.

“The situation with Esteban is a little strange,” he said. “For a long time he was in our program at Mercedes but now he is a driver with the Alpine factory team. That is a fact.

“I think he is doing well there – he is developing and making progress,” the Mercedes chief added. “He is also French.

“So all of the stars came together for him. I think that first of all he will decide how his career continues before we give an opinion on our side,” Wolff said.