Esteban Ocon ‘will be driving at Mercedes next year’ as Valtteri Bottas sweats over future

Ocon missed out on a seat for Mercedes this season, instead joining the team as a reserve driver.

The 22-year-old has raced for Force India the last two campaigns and has been touted as a future star.

While he operates in a reserve capacity for Mercedes, Bottas has been Lewis Hamilton’s understudy at the Silver Arrows.

The Finn was handed a one-year contract at the start of the season but there is speculation regarding which constructor he will drive for next term.

I heard from sources that he will be driving at Mercedes next year

Matthew Carter

And former Lotus CEO Carter, who departed the role in 2016 after the team merged into Renault, have a clue to Bottas’ future with some news about Ocon.

“Esteban 100 per cent was supposed to go to Renault,” he said on the Missed Apex Podcast.

“One hundred per cent it wasn’t in their strategy that he wasn’t going to be racing this year in Formula one.

“One hundred per cent I heard that he will be racing next year.

“I heard from sources that he will be driving at Mercedes next year.”

Ocon’s return could spell the end of the road for Bottas, who is second in the drivers’ standings ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff confirmed last month there had been no talk about extending Bottas’ contract for next season.

“There’s no news on that,” he said. “Valtteri has been driving very well and it has been quite unbelievable to see how he has improved his performances since last year.

“It’s important now that he keeps his current level so that we can start discussing the future.”

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