Ocon signs new three-year Alpine deal – Asia Despatch

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Esteban Ocon
Ocon made his grand prix debut with Manor in 2016 and has since gone on to make 73 F1 race starts

Esteban Ocon has signed a new three-year deal to stay with the Alpine Formula 1 team until 2024.

The 24-year-old Frenchman joined what was then called Renault for 2020.

He was second in last year’s Sakhir GP and has been the team’s leading driver so far this year despite the return of two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

Alpine said the deal “highlights the team’s belief” in Ocon “and its commitment to its long-term goal of world championship success”.

The move finalises Alpine’s driver line-up for 2022 as Alonso – back in F1 after two years away – is in the first season of a two-year contract.

Alpine chief executive officer Laurent Rossi said: “Since returning to the team in 2020, Esteban has grown in confidence and stature to deliver consistently good results and help develop the car with the team.

“Despite his young age, he is very experienced in Formula 1 and he’s on a positive trajectory in both his maturity and ability behind the wheel.

“He is a strong asset for us now, and also going forward as we meet the challenge of the new regulations.”

The team was renamed Alpine, after Renault’s niche sports car brand, for this season as part of a global campaign to raise awareness of the marque.

Ocon’s best result so far this season is a seventh place in the Portuguese Grand Prix. His best qualifying performance was fifth in Spain.

Ocon said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to secure my future with Alpine.

“We’ve been progressing well together since I joined the team and I aim to continue that journey going forward.

“There are great challenges ahead of us, especially with the new regulations in 2022. I’m sure we can hit our targets by working hard together and continuing the story.”

The move also takes Ocon, a former Mercedes young driver, out of the equation for one of the seats at the world champion team next year.

Assuming Lewis Hamilton stays, as he has indicated he will, the second seat is between incumbent Valtteri Bottas and Williams driver George Russell, who starred on a one-off performance for the team at the Sakhir race last year.

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