Toto Wolff has hit back at Mercedes' F1 rivals after comments made about the future of the Mercedes young driver programme and the possibility of running a third car for young drivers. Wolff's comments were met with scepticism from fellow team bosses as the Silver Arrows struggle to find a home for their young talents.
Esteban Ocon looks to be hanging on to his Formula One future by a thread, a last chance move to Williams could be his only option in 2019 as rival teams continue to fill their cars and affiliated teams with young drivers, a luxury Mercedes apparently cannot afford.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 about the problems with finding a seat for Ocon and fellow Mercedes junior George Russell, Wolff explained that Mercedes were trying to find a seat for him but that his contract with Mercedes may have been a huge factor in other teams not taking him for next season.
“I think that not only us but what some of the teams are doing with the young driver programme is to raise the level and to have the good kids in Formula 1, the ones that win championships, and deserve to be there,” Wolff said.
“And what’s been going on this year in July and August was just unbelievable, there was so much politics in the background, hidden agendas, lies.
“Not all of the good kids are going to end up in cars and probably Esteban will be one of them, but we’ll look after him, he’s one of the future stars.
“In July he (Ocon) had two offers on the table with contracts and it was just a matter of choosing which one was the right one and he ended up not having any anymore because people just simply don’t have the balls to stick to what they say.
“But it’s no problem, we have to sort it out with Esteban, he’s a strong guy, he has been through difficult moments in his career, we’ll fix this one as well.”
Wolff also dismissed the idea of releasing the Force India driver from their young driver stable: “Not in a million years because one day he’s going to be in a Mercedes and win races and championships and show all the others out there they made a mistake.”