Ocon uncertainty shows F1 structure "probably wrong" - Hamilton

The uncertainty over Esteban Ocon's Formula 1 future shows that grand prix racing's structure is "probably wrong", world champion Lewis Hamilton believes.

Ocon uncertainty shows F1 structure "probably wrong" - Hamilton

Ocon, who is backed by Mercedes, starred in mixed conditions in Belgian Grand Prix qualifying, putting his Racing Point Force India car third on the grid.

The Frenchman's short-term prospects in F1 have been complicated by recent developments, as a likely Renault move fell through when the manufacturer signed Daniel Ricciardo, while Lawrence Stroll's takeover of Force India has made Ocon staying put all but impossible.

When asked by Motorsport.com about Ocon's situation, Hamilton said: “I’ve always been supporter of Esteban. How he conducts himself and how he performs on track, he is exceptional.

“Unfortunately we’re in a weird place in Formula 1 where some teams, rather than take the up-and-coming kid, they take the money.

“It means the structure of the sport is probably wrong, in terms of how the funds are distributed.

“I’ve not read who has signed where and what seats are available but he needs to be in a top car as he is one of the top drivers here.

“You can’t let someone who has more money leap in front of a better driver. It shouldn’t happen. The governing body definitely has to [address it] somehow.”

TV cameras caught Ocon speaking to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after qualifying, as the Frenchman all but confirmed his seat at Force India would be taken by Lawrence Stroll's son Lance in 2019.

Vettel: Next year? Still nothing?

Ocon: No.

Vettel: Will you be here [at Force India]? No?

Ocon: No, no. The seat is taken.

Vettel: Oh yeah? Who?

Ocon: Have a guess! The one who bought it!

Vettel: Yes, but the other one...?

Ocon: Well, the other one [Sergio Perez] brings money.

Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, celebrates qualifying in third place

Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, celebrates qualifying in third place

Photo by: Steven Tee / LAT Images

Asked about Ocon afterwards, Vettel said the Frenchman's performance in Belgian GP qualifying “should be considered for signing him somewhere next year”.

“From the outside it’s difficult to judge but I think he’s doing everything right,” Vettel said.

“|It’s very good to get this qualifying session under the belt, get the car in P3 where it doesn’t belong, I think that shows enough in a session like that that can be quite chaotic and you can easily do a mistake.

“To hold it together is crucial and that’s what he did.”

Ocon, for his part, said Hamilton and Vettel's comments were “awesome” to hear.

He also said: “For sure, my future is not done at the moment, I don’t know where I will race next year or what I will do. The only thing I can do is do well on track, focus, do same job as before and try to do best.

“If you do a strong job in Formula 1, the team cannot skip you, they need to have you, so that is what I am trying to do.”

Additional reporting by Fabien Gaillard

shares
comments
Belgian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole as Force India stars

Previous article

Belgian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole as Force India stars

Next article

Hamilton on wet-weather pole as Force India F1 take dream result in Spa

Hamilton on wet-weather pole as Force India F1 take dream result in Spa
Load comments
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021