Esteban Ocon has signed a 3 year contract extension with Alpine, leaving him with the Enstone outfit until at least 2024. This means Alpine have now completed their 2022 line-up, with Ocon set to partner Fernando Alonso again, as F1 moves into its new regulations. Ocon signed for Renault in 2020, staying with the team for their Alpine rebrand, and now has the longest contract on the current grid.
Written by Danny Jones, edited by Tanishka Vashee
Ocon has heavily stepped up his game in recent months. So far in 2021, the Frenchman has outpaced 2-time World Champion teammate, Fernando Alondo, despite having less World Championship points. So far, the 24 year old has scored points in 4 of 6 races, including a massive improvement in his qualifying performances, this after achieving his 1st podium at the Sakhir Grand Prix, last season. 2021 is Ocon’s 5th season in the sport, and with another 3 on the horizon, his future looks bright.
However, this renewal has shaken up the driver market. Ocon was rumoured with a Mercedes move for 2022, to replace Valtteri Bottas, but Ocon’s renewal paves the way for George Russell to step up. Pierre Gasly was rumoured with the Alpine seat, but these can now be put to bed, as the Frenchman awaits on his own future. F2 youngsters Guanyu Zhou and Oscar Piastri may feel hard done by, with the 2 Alpine juniors currently occupying 1st and 2nd in the championship. Alpine now risks losing these two, especially if they have a championship-winning year, which may leave Alpine in a difficult situation where to place the drivers.
This comes on the same week as Ocon’s home Grand Prix in France, as he will look to back up his mega contract renewal with impressive performances until the end of the season, as Alpine look to climb up the standings, ahead of the critical 2022 regulations.