The 24-year-old has enjoyed a stellar start to his second campaign with Alpine, having been able to continue his late-season momentum from last year that saw him take his maiden F1 podium at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

Ocon has led the rebranded Alpine squad’s charge so far in 2021, scoring 10 points compared to returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso’s five, while he has also outqualified the Spaniard at three of the opening four rounds.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Rossi confirmed that Alpine has already opened discussions about extending Ocon’s deal following his eye-catching displays this season.

“It's indeed something we're considering,” Rossi responded when asked if Alpine was looking to tie up a new contract for Ocon.

“Esteban is doing everything to make me consider keeping him in the team. I would be remiss if I didn't think about it, so obviously at the moment, we're already engaged in some conversations with his agent, his management team, Mercedes at large.

“Esteban is a great driver, so I'm happy to have that type of problem – which is not [one] actually!”

Rossi said he is “not surprised at all” by Ocon’s impressive form at the start of the 2021 season.

“We knew he's extremely talented,” he added. "He's been racing against all of the drivers, or most of the drivers, when he was younger... and he was always consistently beating them most of the time, so I knew he had a lot of talent.

“It's the second year, so he's started having good references in the team. We also made some modifications to his own team and the way we build up the race weekends and the qualification, so it shows the guy's talent. I think he's where he should be, which is good.”

AlphaTauri’s race-winner Pierre Gasly has been linked with a potential switch to Alpine for next year but Rossi insisted the Frenchman is not under consideration.

“We're not looking at any drivers for next year,” Rossi explained.

“Because at the moment, I'm considering obviously Esteban as we mentioned earlier on. Fernando is here next year with us, so if we want to carry on with the momentum we have, we'll do that.

“Pierre is obviously a great driver, of value, but at the moment, this is not in our cards, I would say.”

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