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Ocon reveals how close he was to Mercedes seat for 2020

Ocon reveals how close he was to Mercedes seat for 2020

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Ocon reveals how close he was to Mercedes seat for 2020

Ocon reveals how close he was to Mercedes seat for 2020

Esteban Ocon says that he was “very close” to signing a deal with Mercedes which would have seen him replace Valtteri Bottas as partner to Lewis Hamilton for 2020.

The Frenchman was previously a member of Mercedes’ junior driver programme, but after being overlooked for a seat for the upcoming season, he moved to Renault instead to replace the outgoing Nico Hulkenberg.

Although wary of going into too much detail, he reveals that the Mercedes seat discussions went down to the wire before Toto Wolff made the decision to go with Bottas.

“It was,” he told ESPN when asked how close he came to signing a F1 deal with the Silver Arrows.

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“Very close, and until the last moment there were discussions. But that’s done now and I have to look ahead and what I have in front of me.

“I don’t think I am going to go into details. Maybe if you ask Toto. I think it was only him taking the decision, but I think he can explain it better.

“He explained it to me also, but his main reason is that of course I am still young and I have time.”

At just 23-years-old, Ocon still has his best years ahead of him in the sport, and with that in mind, he didn’t see any reason to rule out driving for Mercedes in the future.

“I’m still managed by Mercedes, which is different to the actual team,” he added.

“But the future is long in Formula One and I’m sure we will see each other again. We are not that far away from each other [in the paddock] anyway!”

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