Esteban Ocon Looks Beyond Alpine for 2025 Contract

As the 2024 Formula 1 season unfolds, Esteban Ocon finds himself at a career crossroads. With his contract set to expire at the end of the year, Ocon’s future with Alpine appears increasingly uncertain, particularly given the team’s current position at the bottom of the constructors’ standings.

Ocon, who has been with Alpine at its Enstone base for half a decade, has become intimately familiar with the inner workings and aspirations of the team. But despite plans to move up the field with Otmar Szafnauer, a sudden change in personnel and operational processes has seen the team fall from fourth in the constructors at the end of 2022, to the very bottom. This comes despite heavy investment from the likes of Otro Capital. McLaren and Aston Martin, on the other hand, have developed wisely, positioning themselves near the front of the grid.

The lackluster A524 has been a thorn in Ocon’s side, but the French driver has still managed to pull out a number of commendable drives, with Q2 qualifications in the last two races ahead of China, firmly placing him in front of his teammate Pierre Gasly.

It’s no surprise then that the broader F1 paddock has taken note of Ocon’s situation, with teams like Audi reportedly considering him for their 2025 campaign. Rumors of interest from Audi emerged as early as January, underscoring the market’s recognition of Ocon’s talents. Moreover, while rumors of the team being sold have been quashed by Bruno Famin himself, the stability and attractiveness of Ocon’s current seat are in jeopardy.

Esteban Ocon at Japanese Grand Prix
Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 walks in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 05, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. The…

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Ocon himself has not been passive during this period of uncertainty. Earlier in the year, when Alpine’s 2024 car showed initial weaknesses, he said the following:

“I obviously still have strong links with Mercedes, I’m still a Mercedes junior driver, that is no secret to anyone,” Ocon told Sky Sports News at the A452 launch event. “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 continued:

“This has always been, even if I’m not that junior anymore, I’m still contracted with them at some stage.

“So, it is how it is. We will see.”

With a Mercedes seat up for grabs at the end of the season with Lewis Hamilton moving to Ferrari, there’s no doubt that Ocon will be courting the seat of a faster machine. But with so many drivers coming to the end of their contract this season, the competition is vast.

The coming seasons are particularly pivotal for F1 drivers, with the sport set to undergo significant regulatory changes in 2026. Ocon needs to position himself in the sights of a team that has confidence going into this next stage. Audi, for example, may not tick this box. Mercedes? Maybe. But will other drivers get there first?