Esteban Ocon has signed a new Alpine contract that will keep him with the Formula 1 team until the end of 2024.
Ocon joined the Renault-owned team for 2020 after spending a year on the sidelines and was outperformed by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo initially while he re-adjusted to F1, but improved in the second half of the season and scored his first F1 podium in the Sakhir Grand Prix.
He has been much stronger at the start of the 2021 season and only just dropped behind his new team-mate, Fernando Alonso, in the championship after the two-time world champion finished sixth in the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix while Ocon retired.
Ocon has been rewarded for his strong form with a new long-term deal that keeps him with Alpine beyond 2021 “as part of a three-year agreement”.
He said it is “a fantastic feeling to secure my future with Alpine”.
Ocon has a complicated background in F1 after initially being tied to the Enstone team as a Lotus protege, before being managed by Mercedes – while also operating as a Renault test and reserve driver in 2016.
Mercedes orchestrated Ocon’s move into F1 in mid-2016 and kept him on the grid in 2017 and 2018, before he lost his seat at Force India as that team’s ownership change meant Lance Stroll took his place.
Ocon spent 2019 on the sidelines working for Mercedes but was given permission to agree to a two-year deal with Renault, now Alpine, starting in 2020.
This new long-term Alpine deal suggests Ocon is no longer ‘on loan’ from Mercedes and is a fully-fledged Alpine driver.
“We are very proud to retain Esteban as part of the Alpine family,” said Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.
“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.”