Formula One: Ocon in talks with 'last option' Williams

Ocon (above) rejected the suggestion that a move to struggling Williams would be a backwards step.
Ocon (above) rejected the suggestion that a move to struggling Williams would be a backwards step.PHOTO: REUTERS

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - Highly-rated French driver Esteban Ocon conceded on Thursday (Sept 27) that Williams are his only realistic option for staying in Formula One next year.

Ocon, who has impressed at Force India where he is expected to be replaced by Canadian Lance Stroll, had hoped to move to Renault, but that plan was wrecked when the French team signed Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.

Speaking to reporters ahead of this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, Ocon rejected the suggestion that a move to struggling Williams would be a backward step.

"I can't say it is a downgrade," he said, having confirmed that he is in talks with the British team.

"Williams is a great team, they have been world champions in the past and they have been fighting with us hard last year. Sure, they have tough times, but all teams have tough times."

When he was asked if he felt Williams were his last remaining option for remaining in Formula One, he said: "Sure, I think so."

Ocon also rejected any thought of leaving Europe for America to race in Indycar, saying he preferred to be a reserve or test driver in Formula One.

"It could be an option to sit on the bench next year," he said.

"But even if that is the case, I will be back in 2020 and I will be back stronger and prepared."

He said Formula One was his only target.

"I am interested in F1 and that is the only thing I want to do. That is my only focus. I like racing, I like cars and I think it (Indycar) is a great series, but the only thing I look at is F1.

"It is my only target and my only target is to be world champion one day, and there is nothing else that counts really."