Ocon's next move "blocked by Mercedes" - Villeneuve

16-01-2019 09:30
by Bobby Vincent
General
Ocon's next move blocked by Mercedes - Villeneuve

Any potential move for 2019 for Esteban Ocon was "blocked by Mercedes" according to former world champion, Jacques Villeneuve.

Ocon's time at Racing Point, formerly Force India, came to an end as the season concluded. Lance Stroll took his place, with the Canadian's father taking over the team - saving them from administration.

This left Ocon without a team, and with the Frenchman's ties to Mercedes, he is expected to give Valtteri Bottas a run for his seat in 2020, if the Finn has another disappointing season.

Villeneuve revealed that it was the Mercedes link, that many think is a blessing, turned out to be a negative for Ocon, in terms of securing a seat in 2019.

"Esteban Ocon is in F1 thanks to Mercedes," the Canadian told RMC. "At the same time, it was the fact of being with Mercedes that blocked him from going elsewhere.

"He has already been fortunate enough to be in Formula 1 for a few years without having brought in the budget himself, which is amazing. He should be proud of it rather than it being a negative."

Villeneuve was speaking regarding Ocon, at a funding programme he launched for young racing drivers and explained a bit more: "I have the impression today that the financial contribution is more important than talent.

"I've been in the paddocks for a number of years now and I see how it's going and I've really taken notice, perhaps because I have kids too. Often, partents come to me and ask 'What should I do to help my son?' and my first response is 'Tell him to do something else'. It's an awful answer, but I can't lie!"

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