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McLaren concerned by Ocon's Mercedes ties

NEWS STORY
05/09/2018

Zak Brown has admitted that Esteban Ocon's close ties to Mercedes were a key factor in the Frenchman not getting a 2019 seat with the Woking team.

Though there remain 11 seats yet to be officially filled, there is every possibility that the talented Frenchman could be sidelined next season as more of the 2019 jigsaw pieces fall into place.

Initially tipped to go to Renault, that particular avenue was closed down when Daniel Ricciardo made his shock decision.

Now, in the wake of Lawrence Stroll's purchase of Force India, it looks as though Sergio Perez will get the second seat alongside the Canadian billionaire's son.

Rumoured to have been making a mid-season switch to McLaren, even to the point of having a seat fitting, Zak Brown had admitted that ultimately it was Ocon's close ties to Mercedes that caused the Woking team to look elsewhere.

"Esteban is someone that we rate extremely highly," said the American, "and I think any time when a driver, you're looking to something long-term, has ties to another manufacturer, that's a tick in the wrong box.

“Hopefully Esteban will get a ride, or maybe stay where he is, because he certainly deserves to be in Formula One," he added.

"But this manufacturer having a hold on these drivers is certainly something that is a negative when you are not with that certain manufacturer, and you want to have a five, or ten-year view on whether you can have the driver or not.”

Lando Norris, who was confirmed by McLaren on Monday, will partner Red Bull protégé Carlos Sainz, who was effectively dropped after just one year with Renault, the Spaniard having been allowed to move last year as part of the deal which saw Toro Rosso spit with the French manufacturer and team up with Honda.

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1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 05/09/2018 18:57

"Good point @FQITW, McLaren could perhaps have used Ocon as leverage to get hold of Merc PUs.
That being said, there would probably be a penalty to pay Renault for breaking contract and Merc may not want to supply themselves, Force Whatever and Williams as well as another team.
@Mickl also has a good point. Williams will be fiscally challenged due to driver and title sponser leaving so a deal with Merc could be a lifeline and they would get a reasonably experienced driver."

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2. Posted by FQITW, 05/09/2018 18:48

"If Brown had been clever he could have had Ocon and Merc engines.
A faster driver and a faster engine.
But of course no future earnings off the back of his protégé driver.

Sainz is ok but a journey man at best.
"

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3. Posted by Peter Rickitt, 05/09/2018 16:58

"Of your last five news items, 4 (80%) have emanated from Brown - is this media coverage of bombastic 'non-news' why the McLaren shareholders will not rid of this pest ? Perhaps they should put him in the back of the car and then we would move to steam power, or, more correctly, f**t power - all noise and very smelly !"

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4. Posted by @R1Racing71, 05/09/2018 15:22

"Crikey! Funny how things change - they didn't seem too concerned about Alonso's ties to Flav.
But they should have been....;)"

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5. Posted by mickl, 05/09/2018 14:17

"You'd think Ocon to Williams next year (assuming they aren't insolvent) would be a good fit as they have Merc engines. I think Kubica has a clause in his contract (correct me if I'm wrong) to take over a seat at Williams for the remainder of 2018 if any of the current drivers leave?

It'd be a crying shame if Ocon was forced out of F1 in this way."

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