Esteban Ocon has reiterated his dream to become Formula One world champion in the future, despite being ousted by Force India, and the Frenchman finds himself without a drive for the 2019 F1 season.
Ocon, 22, found himself without a drive when the Lawrence Stroll-backed consortium took over the Force India F1 team when they were on verge of bankruptcy during the midway point of the 2018 Formula 1 season, which saw Lawrence Stroll’s son Lance Stroll land a drive for the 2019 season. Reports initially suggested that Stroll would immediately takeover from Ocon, however the Frenchman was kept until the end of the 2018 season.
With Stroll and Perez confirmed as Force India’s 2019 Formula 1 lineup, Ocon now finds himself without a racing seat for next year. As a result, the French driver has joined current F1 world champions Mercedes as a simulation driver, as he aims to keep his involvement in the sport in what he expects to be a ‘gap year’ – hoping to return on the grid in 2020 with a full season race seat.
“I will be at all the grands prix and informed about everything in case I have to return at one point or another,” Ocon told France’s Auto Hebdo.
“You never know what will happen in Formula 1.”
“I will be in the simulator after FP2 to test all of the possibilities for car adjustments and prepare ideally for Lewis (Hamilton) and Valtteri’s qualifying,” Ocon continued.
“After that I will fly out on Saturday morning and be at the circuit that day.
“I want to be world champion one day,” Ocon revealed.
“It’s my goal and my dream. Of course it’s not great not to compete this season, but I’m still focused on F1 and I think that’s the right choice. After that, if I do not find a seat for 2020, then I will go to something else, because I have to continue racing.”
Many have tipped Esteban Ocon to be in prime position to replace struggling Finn Valtteri Bottas for the 2020 F1 season. Bottas has endured a poor 2018 season, being the only driver out of the big three F1 teams to not have won a race, with the Finn eventually finishing off the 2018 drivers’ championship in fifth place, compared to his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was crowned drivers’ champion for the fifth time in F1.