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Mercedes concerned Ocon could be stranded

Mercedes concerned Ocon could be stranded

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Mercedes concerned Ocon could be stranded

Mercedes concerned Ocon could be stranded

Mercedes are concerned that Esteban Ocon could be left without a Formula 1 drive in 2019 as he shapes up to be a big loser of the driver market chaos prompted by Daniel Ricciardo's move to Renault. Ocon had been expected to join the French team until they secured a stunning swoop for the Red Bull star.

Ocon has impressed at Force India since 2017 and has been tipped as a future Silver Arrows driver, having emerged as a rival for Valtteri Bottas when considerations for 2019 were undertaken at Mercedes.

However, the Ricciardo deal and Lawrence Stroll's takeover of Force India - which leaves Ocon fighting Sergio Perez for a seat alongside Lance Stroll - could ultimately leave the French driver stranded.

"On drivers, the situation is really complicated," Wolff said. "With Esteban, it looked like we had a deal with Renault. And within 48 hours, things changed.

"Agreements suddenly were not agreements any more. But I can understand the rationale of Renault getting Ricciardo on board.

"It's just the way that things panned out was not ideal for Esteban.

"It would be really a shame if a timing issue or non-transparent communication would be a reason for such a kid with ability not to find the right seat for next year.

"He can drive, and he has a great personality, and eventually he's going to be in a car that wins races and maybe a championship. My long-term perspective on him is still very optimistic."

A swap with Stroll could take Ocon to Williams, although it would be considered a step down amid the British team's struggles.

He had been namechecked by Zak Brown as a candidate at McLaren, but they have confirmed Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris as their 2019 line-up.

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