Esteban Ocon says he finds it “hard to believe” his hopes of securing a Formula 1 seat for 2019 are growing slimmer and slimmer after being in a “fantastic position” just two months ago.

Current Force India driver Ocon had been on course to sign with Renault for 2019, putting pen to paper on a provisional deal before the team completed a shock swoop for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.



This was followed by the sale of Force India to a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, the father of current Williams driver Lance Stroll, who is now set to join the team for 2019 alongside Sergio Perez.

Ocon was also in contention for a drive at McLaren and reportedly underwent a seat fitting with the team, only for Lando Norris to be promoted into a race drive for 2019.

All of this has left Ocon at risk of losing his place on the F1 grid with few seats available and teams interested, some put off by his links to Mercedes as a junior driver.

“There are still hopes, yes, but less and less, as you know. That's a bit why I'm disappointed at the moment, to see that it's not only results that come in play, it has to be other things,” Ocon said of his F1 chances for next year.

“That's why I'm disappointed to be in that situation. It's hard to believe that I was in a great position two months ago and things have gone that way now.

Ocon said he was not considering cutting ties with Mercedes in order to try and secure an F1 seat for 2019, and was yet to mull over any racing options outside of F1 for next year.

The Frenchman refused to go into details when asked if he had the chance to sign with McLaren in July but opted for Renault instead, only saying: “I was in a fantastic position a couple of months ago. And yeah, it has turned in a way that [I’m] without a seat now.”

Asked if he felt Renault had let him down, Ocon said: “I’m not going to comment on this.”

Ocon took to social media earlier this week to post a message thanking his fans for their messages of support in recent times, and said it had eased the situation for him.

“I’ve wrote that message in part because every day I was receiving kind messages and in tough moments, that makes you keep your chin up, as you say in England,” Ocon said.

“I wrote that message first to thank the people that support me, and also to explain a bit the way I felt. As I always say, my life is Formula 1, I have nothing else. The only thing I wanted since I was born is to be racing.”

This is not the first time in Ocon’s career he has been at risk of being without a seat for the following season, having been unattached after beating Max Verstappen to the European Formula 3 title in 2014 before being picked up by Mercedes.

Asked by if his current plight was tougher than that moment, Ocon said: “I would say now it’s equal to the time I won the [F3] title. There have been others in previous years also, things that you don’t know in karting and stuff.

“We are used to those situations unfortunately. It seems like I got nothing for free, and each thing I have to fight to get it.

“It’s one more time the case, and hopefully one more time, we’ll overcome this.”


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