Esteban Ocon will stay with the Alpine team for 2022, as the French driver has extended his deal with his current team. The announcement was made ahead of his, and the team's, home race at Paul Ricard this weekend.
Ocon was a shoe-in for a possible switch to Mercedes for next season as a replacement for Valtteri Bottas, due to his links with Mercedes' Toto Wolff. However, after impressing against veteran teammate Fernando Alonso in the opening six races of 2021, Ocon has signed a deal to stay with the team for next year and through until 2024 on a long-term stay.
"I’m delighted to continue with the team beyond this year and it’s a fantastic feeling to secure my future with Alpine," beamed the Frenchman after signing his new contract.
"We’ve been progressing well together since I joined the team and I aim to continue that journey going forward. There are great challenges ahead of us, especially with the new regulations in 2022. I’m sure we can hit our targets by working hard together and continuing the story.
"I often think back to the Sakhir Grand Prix last year with the podium, and it motivates me to create more special memories like that. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter but, for now, we’re very much focused on this season and taking each race as it comes.”
With Alpine throwing their weight behind Ocon on a long-term deal similar to Red Bull with Max Verstappen, McLaren with Lando Norris and Ferrari with Charles Leclerc, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi praised the progress Ocon has made since returning to a fulltime F1 seat in 2020.
“We are very proud to retain Esteban as part of the Alpine family. Since returning to the team in 2020, Esteban has grown in confidence and stature to deliver consistently good results and help develop the car with the team," said Rossi.
"Despite his young age, he is very experienced in Formula 1 and he’s on a positive trajectory in both his maturity and ability behind the wheel. He is a strong asset for us now, and also going forward as we meet the challenge of the new regulations. We have every confidence in Esteban to help drive the team and the brand to the next level and meet its long-term objectives.
"Esteban is an asset for us beyond F1 as he is deeply involved in the Alpine global project. Thanks to his personality and values, Esteban is naturally a perfect ambassador of Alpine. For now, we look forward to continuing the 2021 campaign at our home Grand Prix in France and doing the best possible job at every remaining race weekend.”
This means that Alpine's driver line-up is now secure for next season, as Alonso's contract takes him through until the end of 2022.