Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Esteban Ocon won’t be released from its junior programme and is convinced the French driver will show rival teams “made a mistake” turning him down.

Ocon’s Formula 1 future was thrown into jeopardy during the summer break in a flurry of driver switches triggered by Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to quit Red Bull for Renault for 2019. It meant Ocon’s provisional offer from Renault was rescinded while interest from McLaren also disappeared when the Woking-based squad snapped by Carlos Sainz Jr.

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With his future at Force India looking effectively over following the Laurence Stroll-led takeover, which is likely to see his son Lance Stroll join the team, Ocon is facing 2019 without an F1 race seat with a final option at Williams appearing to be his only opportunity.

Both Red Bull and McLaren used Ocon’s ties to Mercedes as a key reason behind rejecting the 22-year-old which Wolff sees as a political move which he describes as ‘hidden agendas’.

The Mercedes boss remains confident of Ocon’s future in F1 despite his uncertain 2019 prospects and ruled out the possibility of releasing the French driver to improve his chances of landing a race seat.

“Not in a million years [will Ocon be released], 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,” Wolff said.

“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. 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. We have to sort it out. Esteban is strong, he’s been through different moments in his career. We’ll fix this one as well.”

During the Singapore Grand Prix weekend Mercedes confirmed it will cut ties with Pascal Wehrlein, a Mercedes junior driver alongside Ocon, after being unable to find the German a competitive drive for 2019.

Both Ocon and fellow Mercedes junior George Russell remain unclear on their F1 futures with Williams the only team likely to accommodate a Mercedes-back driver for 2019.

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