Ocon secures F1 future with Alpine

Esteban Ocon

The Alpine Formula 1 team has announced a new long-term contract for Esteban Ocon, tying him to the French marque until the end of 2024.

Ocon is in the midset of his second season at Alpine, having previously driven for Manor and Force India/Racing Point (now Aston Martin).

Besides a maiden podium in the Sakhir Grand Prix, the 24-year-old was last season comprehensively outperformed by then team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

He’s made a far stronger start to 2021, however, with four top 10 results from six races and is just one point behind two-time world champion and new team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Alpine Cars CEO Laurent Rossi hailed the deal, which ensures the team will carry an unchanged driver line-up into next season.

That in turn has a flow-on effect for rising Australian Oscar Piastri; the Alpine Academy member has made a fine start to his rookie Formula 2 campaign to be second in the points, but now has no direct pathway to the top tier for 2022.

On Ocon, Rossi said: “We are very proud to retain Esteban as part of the Alpine family.

“Since returning to the team in 2020 [having previously been Renault’s reserve driver], Esteban has grown in confidence and stature to deliver consistently good results and help develop the car with the team.

“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.”

Ocon added: “I’m delighted to continue with the team beyond this year and it’s a fantastic feeling to secure my future with Alpine.

“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.”

Opening practice for the French Grand Prix gets underway tomorrow at 19:30 AEST.

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