Esteban Ocon’s career is still being managed by Mercedes despite his commitment to the Alpine Formula 1 team.
Ocon linked up with Mercedes and its junior programme in 2015 prior to his F1 debut with Manor midway through the 2016 campaign.
The Frenchman then spent two years with Force India before being dropped ahead of the 2019 campaign for Lance Stroll and slipped into a sideline role as Mercedes’ reserve driver.
Ocon managed to make a return to the grid in 2020 with Renault (before it rebranded to Alpine), where he became a race-winner at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Despite last holding a role with Mercedes over four years ago, he still holds ties to Mercedes.
"He's still very linked to us,” Gwen Lagrue, chief of Mercedes’ junior programme told The Race.
“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.”
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Performance against Alonso
Ocon is currently under contract until at least the end of the 2024 season with Alpine.
The 27-year-old has partnered some high-profile names during his time with the Enstone-based squad including Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo.
Lagrue hailed Ocon’s performance against Alonso at the team prior to the two-time World Champion’s departure to Aston Martin.
“To be honest, the last two years, what he did against also Fernando [Alonso] was pretty strong,” he added.
“So we are not talking about always winning or doing podiums etc, but still he did a very, very, very good job.
“And I think Fernando pushed him also to a limit he didn't know [in] himself, and he's still improving.”