March 1, 2024

File photo of Esteban Ocon© AFP

French Formula One driver Esteban Ocon on Thursday confirmed his “strong links” with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team following Lewis Hamilton’s dramatic switch to Scuderia Ferrari after the end of the 2024 season. Speaking to Sky Sports, Ocon said that there’s no “secret” that he is still a Mercedes junior driver. “I obviously still have strong links with Mercedes, I’m still a Mercedes junior driver, that is no secret to anyone,” Ocon said as quoted by Sky Sports. The Alpine F1 Team driver added that this season he is “totally dedicated” to his current French side and looking forward to the upcoming season of Formula One. “But I’m totally dedicated to Alpine this year, I’ve got 24 races to get through and we’ll see where we end up,” he said.

“Formula 1 is fierce, a lot of things can happen, as we can see, but I’m ready to take on the challenge,” he added.

After news of Hamilton’s departure was confirmed, many names surfaced about who could replace the seven-time World Champion.

Earlier, the Team Principal of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Toto Wolff confirmed that George Russell will be the next “lead driver” of the team after the end of the 2024 season.

“With all the Lewis discussion, something that has not been talked about enough is George. George has the potential to be the next lead driver in the team. He is of the generation of Lando (Norris) and (Charles) Leclerc and some of the others,” said Wolff, according to Sky Sports.

Last week, Ferrari stunned the sporting world by announcing that the seven-time world champion will join the Italian team for the 2025 Formula One season on a multi-year contract.

The news brings an end to Hamilton’s what is currently a 17-year-long relationship in F1 with Mercedes-Benz and an 11-year-long partnership with the works team.

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