Wolff: Ocon will be our reserve driver and third driver

One of the travesties of Formula 1 has reared its ugly head as Esteban Ocon finds himself off the grid after shining during his tenure in the top flight, most recently with Force India where there is no seat for him next year.

Ocon’s last chance for 2019 fell through when Williams opted to sign Robert Kubica to partner rookie George Russell next year.

To make up for it, he has landed the next best deal possible with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff confirming to reporters in Abu Dhabi that the highly-rated young Frenchman as the World Champion team’s reserve driver.

With regards to the 22-year-old Frenchman’s future, Wolff said, “The plans are pretty clear. He is going to be pretty close to the Mercedes team – he will be our reserve driver and third driver.”

“We hope to do the odd test with him, we are looking at pre-season and in-season but it’s not sorted out yet. He will do a lot of time in the simulator to make sure that he is ready,” added Wolff.

Ready for what? Reading between the lines this could well be a warning signal to Valtteri Bottas who has had a below-par season while teammate Lewis Hamilton has flourished.

After the summer, when it became increasingly apparent Ocon would be marginalised from the top flight, Wolff promised he would find the Mercedes protege a drive in 2020.

Wolff: Ocon is going to be in good car in 2020