Esteban Ocon’s links to Mercedes were “a tick in the wrong box” when it came to considering him for a McLaren Formula 1 seat in 2019, according to team boss Zak Brown.

McLaren announced last week it would be promoting junior driver Lando Norris into an F1 seat for 2019 alongside Carlos Sainz Jr., having opted against retaining incumbent racer Stoffel Vandoorne, or signing Ocon or Sergio Perez, both of whom race for Force India currently.

Singapore #5 Circuit of Champions

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While Ocon was a consideration for a McLaren seat and reportedly underwent a seat fitting at Woking, team CEO Brown explained that his ties to Mercedes meant added to the uncertainty about signing the Frenchman.

“I think ultimately we want to have our own driver. Lando is who we wanted,” Brown said.

“Esteban is someone who we rate extremely highly. Any time a driver, when you’re looking for something long-term, has ties to another manufacturer, that’s a tick in the wrong box.

“Hopefully Esteban will get a ride, maybe stay where he is, because he certainly deserves to be in Formula 1.

“But these manufacturers having a call on these drivers is certainly something that is a negative, when you’re not with that certain manufacturer and you want a five- or 10-year view of whether you want a driver or not.”

Ocon is currently searching for a 2019 seat after a planned move to Renault was scrapped following its shock signing of Daniel Ricciardo, with the expected arrival of Lance Stroll at Force India set to displace the Mercedes-backed youngster.

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