Esteban Ocon admits he is disappointed by the way his chances of staying in Formula 1 next season are lessening.
Ocon originally had a Renault deal agreed but not signed for 2019 but missed out on that seat when Daniel Ricciardo opted to leave Red Bull for Enstone. The takeover of Force India by a Lawrence Stroll-led consortium means his son Lance is likely to move from Williams — perhaps at some stage this season — and as a Mercedes young driver Ocon saw another opportunity at McLaren close last week when Lando Norris was announced.
“There are still hopes, yes, but less and less, as you know,” Ocon said of his F1 future. “That’s a bit why I’m disappointed at the moment, to see that it’s not only results that come in play, it has to be other things. That’s why I’m disappointed to be in that situation. It’s hard to believe that I was in a great position two months ago and things have gone that way now.”
And Ocon says there is added pain in seeing a number of his junior rivals progressing to top teams, with Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly becoming teammates at Red Bull next year, while Charles Leclerc will race for Ferrari.
“What I see is my situation this year. I’m not frustrated, I’m really disappointed, that’s more the word. I’m not upset against anyone or anything. But I’ve worked really hard to get here. I keep working really hard to perform those last two years. This year, I think I’ve progressed compared to last year.
“It’s 11-3 in qualifying against Sergio (Perez). I’m fighting hard to do the best I can every race, and arriving here not knowing what I will do next year, it’s hard to swallow obviously. Seeing all my old rivals, Max, Pierre, Charles, people I’ve been racing with since day one basically, they are in top teams and top cars to fight for podiums and victories.
“Of course that makes me more hungry than ever, and makes me push hard every day. Even if I don’t have a seat next year, I will push hard to come back and I will come back.”
While holding out hope of a future at Force India until any move for Stroll is confirmed, Ocon says Williams is one of his final options for 2019.
“We speak every day with Toto (Wolff). Of course we have the same opinion and same way, we want me to race next year. Also the Mercedes management, the whole Mercedes management is pushing hard for me to find a solution. It seems harder than it should be I think.
“I mean, there are still talks, probably with [Williams] or with wherever I could go. But there are less and less.”