“I’m still a Mercedes junior” - Esteban Ocon responds to Lewis Hamilton replacement speculation

Esteban Ocon has responded to speculation that he could be in the frame to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025.

Esteban Ocon pictured at Mercedes in 2019
Esteban Ocon pictured at Mercedes in 2019

Esteban Ocon has confirmed he has retained “strong links with Mercedes” amid speculation he could be a candidate to replace Lewis Hamilton for 2025.

Ocon spent the 2019 season as Mercedes’ reserve driver after failing to secure a seat on the grid.

The Frenchman had impressed during his two prior seasons with Force India but was replaced by Lance Stroll.

Ocon returned to F1 with Renault in 2020, and has remained at Enstone ever since.

Given his connection to Mercedes and Toto Wolff, Ocon has been mooted as a possible Hamilton-replacement.

"I obviously still have strong links with Mercedes, I'm still a Mercedes junior driver, that is no secret to anyone," Ocon told Sky Sports News at Alpine’s 2024 car launch.

"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.

"Formula 1 is fierce, a lot of things can happen, as we can see, but I'm ready to take on the challenge. This has always been, even if I'm not that junior anymore, I'm still contracted with them at some stage.

"So, it is how it is. We will see."

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Tuesday.- www.xpbimages.com, EMail:
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit,…

Ocon has insisted he’s going to focus on what happens on-track, leaving discussions with other teams to his relevant management.

"Silly season has already started,” he added. "For me it's important to focus on what I have to focus, and that is the track, that is the results, that is doing a good job on track.

"I've been part of this team for a long time, I know that if you do a good job, you'll always have opportunities and talks and rumours and all these things, but I'm going to be focused on what matters, and leave my manager and team to deal with that."

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