Just days ahead of his and his team's home race, the French Grand Prix, Alpine F1 Team has confirmed that Esteban Ocon will continue with the Enstone-based outfit beyond the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season as part of a three-year agreement.
The 24-year-old joined the team ahead of the 2020 campaign, having already spent two full years racing in Formula 1. Prior to that, Esteban was already a well-known member of the Enstone-Viry family during his time as a Lotus Junior Driver and, later, as Renault’s Reserve Driver during the 2016 Formula 1 season.
The Evreux-born Frenchman started his single-seater career in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2012, scoring a podium finish in his maiden campaign and finishing as the third best-placed driver in the Drivers’ Standings in the following season.
2014 saw Ocon compete in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, winning the title in his first season in the series. The driver, who was born in Évreux, Normandy to Sabrine Khelfane and Laurent Ocon, a mechanic who owns a garage in Évreux, joined the GP3 Series in the following season, winning the title immediately.
In 2016, he raced in DTM, competing for the Mercedes-Benz DTM Team Art before making his debut in Formula One with the Manor Racing MRT. He was signed by the Sahara Force India F1 Team in the following season, racing for the Silverstone-based team for two seasons.
Ocon joined Mercedes as their reserve driver for 2019 after it became clear that he would be replaced at Racing Point by Lance Stroll. The Frenchman joined Renault for 2020, signing a two-year contract and marking his return to Formula One as a full-time driver, replacing Nico Hülkenberg and partnering with Daniel Ricciardo.
🎉 Esteban Ocon Re-Signs until 2024 🎉 A part of the Enstone-Viry family since you were 14 years-old, congratulations @OconEsteban. Keep chasing the dream, together 🇬🇧🇫🇷— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) June 16, 2021
Read the full announcement below 🔗#EO31 #Ocon2024 #FrenchGP
Commenting on the contract extension, CEO of Alpine Cars, Laurent Rossi said: “We are very proud to retain Esteban as part of the Alpine family. 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.
"We have every confidence in Esteban to help drive the team and the brand to the next level and meet its long-term objectives. Esteban is an asset for us beyond F1 as he is deeply involved in the Alpine global project. Thanks to his personality and values, Esteban is naturally a perfect ambassador of Alpine. For now, we look forward to continuing the 2021 campaign at our home Grand Prix in France and doing the best possible job at every remaining race weekend," the Italian said.
Ocon added: “I’m delighted to continue with the team beyond this year and 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. I often think back to the Sakhir Grand Prix last year with the podium, and it motivates me to create more special memories like that. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter but, for now, we’re very much focused on this season and taking each race as it comes," the Frenchman concluded.