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No 'Mercedes exit clause' in Ocon's contract

NEWS STORY
20/06/2021

Alpine team boss, Laurent Rossi has dismissed the suggestion that Esteban Ocon has a clause in his contract which would allow him to switch to Mercedes.

In 2014, the youngster won the European Formula 3 Championship at the first attempt, his 21 podium finishes, including 9 wins, resulting in him winning the crown with a race to spare.

In addition to driving the Lotus at the Abu Dhabi post season test, the Frenchman was signed to the Mercedes junior programme.

In 2015 he won the GP3 title, while enjoying further F1 outings at the Barcelona and Red Bull Ring tests with Force India.

Halfway through an uninspiring season with Mercedes in DTM in 2016, the Frenchman was announced as Rio Haryanto's replacement at Manor, subsequently joining Force India for two promising, though at times tempestuous, seasons alongside Sergio Perez.

Dropped at the end of 2018, Ocon was recruited by Mercedes as its reserve driver and continues to be managed by the German team.

Despite signing a new three-year contract with Alpine this week, there has been speculation linking him with a move to Mercedes, what with both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas out of contract at season end.

Asked if the Frenchman has a clause in his new contract which would allow him to return to Mercedes, team boss, Laurent Rossi was adamant.

"He is a Mercedes-managed driver, that's about it," said Rossi. "He stays with us for the next three years."

Comparing Ocon to French legend, Alain Prost, Rossi added: "He is very good at extracting the maximum out of the car, and it shows, he is constantly improving.

"He is a good team mate. He is good with the rest of the team... he is basically pushing everyone up."

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