Mercedes youngster Esteban Ocon is “in the mix” for the second Williams Formula 1 seat in 2019, with deputy chief Claire Williams saying the team “would be crazy” not to consider the Frenchman for next season.

Williams confirmed on Friday that Formula 2 championship leader and Mercedes-backed junior George Russell would be joining its F1 line-up in 2019, leaving one seat free at the team.

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With Lance Stroll seemingly bound for Force India following his father’s takeover of the team, the candidates for the remaining seat include current driver Sergey Sirotkin, F2 veteran Artem Markelov and Williams reserve driver Robert Kubica.

While Sirotkin is the favourite to continue in 2019, Williams said the team was still considering its options, with Ocon being a contender.

“We are still doing a lot of evaluation work,” Williams told Sky Sports.

“It’s a short short-list. We're very happy with the drivers we are evaluating and it will not take us a long time to make that final decision.

“Of course Esteban is in the mix. We would be crazy not to be looking at him.”

Ocon was left of the fringes of the F1 driver market following a number of surprise silly season moves over the summer that saw him miss out on seats at both Renault and McLaren despite having contracts drawn up with both teams.

Mercedes is braced to hand the current Force India driver a test and reserve role for 2019 with a view to getting him back on the grid for 2020, making Williams his final realistic chance of landing a full-time race seat.

Besides Williams, the only remaining seats for 2019 are at Force India - who is expected to confirm Stroll and Sergio Perez over the Mexican Grand Prix weekend - and Toro Rosso, which has one drive remaining alongside Daniil Kvyat.

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