Esteban Ocon says he is in discussions with Williams over a seat for next season but only wants to commit to a one-year deal should “good opportunities” emerge for 2020.
The Frenchman’s hopes of staying on the grid have looked slim since Force India’s takeover mid-season by Lawrence Stroll, who is keen to put son Lance in the car for 2019, leaving Ocon without a drive following failed negotiations with Renault and McLaren.
Williams looks the only viable option for the Mercedes junior, who have one seat to fill after announcing Formula 2 championship leader George Russell as its first driver for next year.
Team-mate Sergio Perez was confirmed at Force India for another season on Thursday leaving just three seats remaining on the 2019 grid. Ocon revealed talks were ongoing with Williams but remains optimistic opportunities will appear in the future should he be forced to sit out a year.
“At the moment we are still on the same level,” Ocon told media ahead of the US Grand Prix as quoted by RaceFans.net.
“Still discussions, there are still possibilities for me next year. But really if that’s not the case and if I don’t find a seat next year we see still good opportunities for 2020.”
Speaking on Russell’s promotion to Formula 1, Ocon assured the deal had no affect on his plans given the Briton penned a multi-year contract.
“It’s good to see that George is promoted, he’s also part of the Mercedes junior programme,” said Ocon. “He signed for multiple years, that was not our intention to sign for those many years.
“There’s still a second seat in the Williams, there’s still talks so we’ll see where that goes.”