Jun.22 (GMM) F1’s silly season is shifting into another gear in the Paul Ricard paddock.
Firstly, given Valtteri Bottas’ most recent performance dip, there are claims Toto Wolff wants to put Esteban Ocon in the Mercedes for 2020.
But another season for Bottas is also a possibility.
Ocon, the Mercedes reserve this year, told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF: “If I do not find a race seat next year, in the worst case I would go to another category but it’s not at all what I want.
“What I want is to be in F1 next year.”
However, the other Mercedes-powered teams may not be an option for Ocon. Nicholas Latifi is pushing either for a Williams or Racing Point cockpit.
If he graduates from the Williams reserve role, the Canadian rookie – reportedly with $30 million in sponsorship to offer – would replace struggling Robert Kubica. At Racing Point, the victim would be Sergio Perez.
It means Wolff could be looking to loan Frenchman Ocon to Renault instead.
In that case, the axed Renault driver would be Nico Hulkenberg, whose contract runs out at the end of the year.
“There is some mechanism of (contract) options that can kick in (for 2020), so maybe we continue our journey with Nico,” said team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
“Frankly, Nico has delivered for the team and we need to give credit for that. But we also need to look at the options, like I’m sure Nico is doing.”
Another option for both Ocon and Hulkenberg is Alfa Romeo, where Antonio Giovinazzi is struggling.
Hulkenberg has also been linked with Pierre Gasly’s seat at Red Bull.
But Christian Horner, the Red Bull team boss, backed Frenchman Gasly to keep getting up to speed, even though the gap to Max Verstappen at Paul Ricard appears significant.
“We are very actively working with Pierre, as confidence is a very important factor in this sport,” he said. “He is compared with an incredibly fast teammate in Max Verstappen.
“I think in Monaco he performed very well, while Montreal was not easy for him. But he knows Paul Ricard much better and I believe he will continue to make progress.”
15/08/2016 No new reserve driver for Renault Aug.15 (GMM) Renault says it will not appoint an official replacement for reserve driver Esteban Ocon.
Ocon has been called up to make his F1 race debut from the forthcoming Belgian […]
15/05/2016 No Friday outings for Vandoorne – Boullier May 15 (GMM) McLaren-Honda team boss Eric Boullier says there are no plans for Stoffel Vandoorne to be given Friday morning outings in 2016.
Another works team, Renault, is giving Sergey […]
05/06/2019 Latifi targeting ‘Super Licence’ for 2020 Jun.5 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi has played down suggestions he is now on the cusp of a F1 race seat.
The 23-year-old, whose father Michael co-owns McLaren, is the test driver at Williams […]
06/06/2018 Latifi targets F1 race seat for 2019 Jun.6 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi says he is targeting a formula one seat for 2019.
The 22-year-old Canadian is currently Force India's reserve driver, and he will be in action on Friday […]
11/05/2019 Latifi could replace Kubica at Williams – report May 11 (GMM) The first rumours that Robert Kubica could be ousted by Williams have emerged.
The Pole has struggled alongside George Russell on his return to F1 after an eight year […]
08/06/2019 Father eyes 2020 Williams race seat for Latifi Jun.8 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi's influential father says the Canadian driver wants a place on the 2020 grid.
This weekend, the 23-year-old Formula 2 championship leader appeared for […]
15/05/2019 Latifi admits eyeing F1 grid with Williams May 15 (GMM) Nicholas Latifi is not denying that he wants to get into Formula 1.
The Canadian is Williams' reserve driver, and he has been promised some Friday practice outings in […]
20/05/2019 Kubica admits he wants ‘better results’ May 20 (GMM) Robert Kubica insists he does not regret returning to Formula 1.
That is despite the fact that, just five races into his first season since sustaining permanent arm injuries […]
22/07/2018 Ocon could switch to Renault in 2019 Jul.22 (GMM) Esteban Ocon has emerged as a serious contender to switch to Renault in 2019.
It is believed he is the main candidate should Red Bull rescind its 'loan' to the French team […]
15/05/2016 No ‘negative pressure’ at Renault – Magnussen May 15 (GMM) Even though three young chargers are knocking on the door, Kevin Magnussen sounds secure in his race seat at Renault.
So far in 2016, the Dane and his teammate Jolyon Palmer […]