Esteban Ocon is not interested in a IndyCar race seat next season, even if talks with Williams fail to keep him in Formula 1.
The Mercedes youngster is facing an uncertain future, with Lance Stroll expected to replace him at Force India following the team’s takeover by a Lawrence Stroll-led consortium. Williams is one of the final viable seats remaining as Toro Rosso and Haas are not options for Ocon, and he believes it would still be a good move even with the the team’s recent struggles.
“Yes, there are talks with Williams obviously,” Ocon said. “The talks are there, but no, I can’t say it would be a downgrade. Williams is a great team. They have been world champions in the past, they have been fighting with us hard last year, and they’re having tough times, but all teams have tough times.
“For sure, it could be an option to be on the bench next year, but even if that’s the case, I would be back in 2020 and I would be back stronger and prepared.”
With Toto Wolff also suggesting Ocon could be left without a seat next season, the Frenchman ruled out a year racing elsewhere, with IndyCar not something he would consider.
“I’m not interested. I’m interested in Formula 1. That’s the only thing I want to do. That’s my only focus.
“I like racing, I like cars. I think [IndyCar] is a great series. But the only thing I look at is Formula 1. It’s my only target. My only target is to be world champion one day. There is nothing else that counts really.
“Also I think it’s looking at Robert [Wickens], who I know very well, of course it breaks you a bit… Anyway if that wasn’t the case, I would not look at IndyCar at all.
“If I’m told I’m not racing in the next couple of years in F1, then yeah, I need to leave. I need to work. But what I’m trying to do is if I’m not racing next year is to come back in F1 in 2020. I feel like there is nothing for me to learn away from F1.”
Ocon also eliminated Formula E from consideration if he doesn’t secure a Williams drive next season, having raced for Mercedes in DTM while awaiting his first F1 chance.
“We never know what can happen in the future, but I’ve been in that situation of waiting, but I was in a different situation. I hadn’t tried Formula 1 before. I didn’t race, I didn’t drive and have results or be prepared.
“When you are in those kind of transitions, you try to get as much experience before you go to F1, and DTM was very, very useful for me, and prepared me very well for F1. I feel like I’m ready now, and I don’t need those bigger experiences. I think I have enough experience now.”