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Mercedes make astonishing ownership claim over rival F1 driver

Mercedes make astonishing ownership claim over rival F1 driver

Mercedes make astonishing ownership claim over rival F1 driver

Mercedes make astonishing ownership claim over rival F1 driver

Gwen Lagrue, the man who runs Mercedes' young driver academy, has suggested that the team still 'manage' the career of Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.

The Frenchman was very much part of the Brackley-based outfit's plans having driven with Mercedes in the 2016 DTM season, before competing in Formula 1 with both Manor Racing and Force India, while under a long-term contract with Mercedes.

When the now 27-year-old was replaced at Racing Point by Lance Stroll, he returned to the world champions as a reserve driver, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas' positions almost untouchable.

Since 2020, Ocon has represented the Renault (now Alpine) team, scoring two podiums and one race victory in four seasons with the Enstone-based outfit.

Esteban Ocon was a big part of Mercedes' plans as a youngster
Esteban Ocon was often seen on the Mercedes pit wall back in 2019
Esteban Ocon has gone on to forge a very solid Formula 1 career with Alpine

Mercedes' Ocon partnership

While it was considered that his links with Mercedes were all but gone, Lagrue has revealed that is not the case, and that the team are still keeping tabs on Ocon's career.

Lagrue heads Mercedes' young driver programme, in which the likes of Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Frederik Vesti and Mick Schumacher are all hoping to get their chance once Hamilton decides to retire.

“He’s still very linked to us,” Lagrue told The Race about Ocon.

“He’s an Alpine driver, and he’s fully committed to Alpine, but we’re still managing his career.

“There are only 20 seats in Formula 1, and we are in a way pretty much all collaborating in the best interests of the sport. And in our case we have a very good relationship with Alpine and with others.

“And we always try to find the best solution to work together in the best interest of the team and the driver.”

READ MORE: F1 star 'very high up' Audi list for shock team switch

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Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Alpine Esteban Ocon Renault Valtteri Bottas
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