Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has slammed rival teams for the “hidden agendas” and “lies” over the summer that left junior driver Esteban Ocon facing a year on the sidelines in 2019.

Ocon was known to be on the verge of joining Renault for 2019 ahead of the summer break, only for the team to complete a shock swoop for Daniel Ricciardo to partner Nico Hulkenberg for next year.

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Ocon missed out on a seat at McLaren to Lando Norris, but was understood to have an offer on the table from the team prior to his decision to favour Renault.

He is also set to be shuffled out of his current Force India seat by Lance Stroll for 2019 after his father, Lawrence Stroll, led a consortium to take over the team.

The chain of events has led to Ocon facing a year out of F1 in 2019 due to the lack of remaining options, leaving Wolff fuming over the situation.

“I think what not only us but what some of the other teams are doing in terms of the young driver programme is to raise the level and have the good kids in Formula 1, the ones that win championships and deserve to be there,” Ocon told Sky Sports F1.

“What’s been going on this year in July and in August was just unbelievable. There was so much politics in the background, hidden agendas, lies, and not all of the good kids are going to end up in cars, and probably Esteban will be one of them. But we’ll look after him. He’s one of the future stars. I’m 100 percent sure of that.

“In July, he had two offers on the table with contracts, and it was just a matter of choosing which was the right one, and he ended up not having any anymore.”

However, Wolff ruled out the possibility of releasing Ocon from Mercedes’ junior programme in order to allow him to find a seat elsewhere, with Toro Rosso known to be unwilling to sign the Frenchman due to his manufacturer links.

“Not in a million years,” Wolff said.

“Because one day he is going to be in a Mercedes and win races and championships, and show all the others out there that they made a mistake.”

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