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Esteban Ocon

Ocon addresses Mercedes links - 'That's what happens when you do a good job'

Esteban Ocon has been caught by surprise at how early the 2024 silly season has started, following Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari for 2025.

Ocon Hamilton Japan
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Esteban Ocon has insisted he remains focused on his future with Alpine despite his links to Mercedes putting him in the frame to replace Lewis Hamilton.

The Alpine driver is one of those currently without a contract for next year, as is his teammate, Pierre Gasly.

Silly season has sparked into life significantly earlier than usual as a result of Hamilton announcing his move to Ferrari next year ahead of his 12th and final campaign for Mercedes.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has a busy year ahead of him - not just on managing the Brackley-based side's performances on the circuit, as he also needs to find a suitable replacement for the seven-time World Champion.

On top of that, Wolff also needs to seal Ocon a place on the grid for next year, as the Frenchman is still managed by the Silver Arrows.

Ocon and Mercedes 'always talk'

"It is clear that I've got good links with Mercedes and I'm still managed by them in a way similar to a junior even if I'm not a junior anymore," Ocon told select media including RacingNews365, at the launch of Alpine's 2024 car.

"My focus goes into the racing and into the plan that we have with Alpine. I need to focus on what's on track, which is the most important and if that goes well, then we always talk through things. That's what happens when you do a good job."

Unlike most, Ocon wasn't actually too shocked by Hamilton signing for Ferrari, although he was caught by surprise at how early the move was announced. He expects this to be a precedent for the campaign ahead.

"Not much, to be honest. I knew it was gonna be a crazy season for sure. I didn't think it was going to start early in January. But it's going to be all year like that."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix