Esteban Ocon has revealed that he was close to getting a seat at Mercedes-AMG Motorsport for the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Championship, where he would have replaced Valterri Bottas, but hended up replacing Nico Hülkenberg at Renault Sport F1 Team.
Ocon explained that during negotiations it came close to him joining the World Championship winning squad, but explained how he went on to join Renault, making it clear that the choice is in the past and that he has to look forward to where he is currently going with Renault, his new team for the season.
“It was very close, and until the last moment there were discussions,” he explained to ESPN. “But that’s done now and I have to look ahead and what I have in front of me. I don’t think I am going to go into details. Maybe if you ask Toto. I think it was only him taking the decision, but I think he can explain it better.“
He added that he knew the reasons why he was not joining the team and made it clear that he was still early into his F1 career so still has a lot of time to switch teams.
The 23-year-old also explained that he was still with Mercedes in some way but just was no longer with their junior driver scheme.
“He explained it to me also, but his main reason is that of course I am still young and I have time. I’m still managed by Mercedes, which is different to the actual team. But the future is long in Formula One and I’m sure we will see each other again. We are not that far away from each other [in the paddock] anyway!”