Daniel Ricciardo admits his decision to leave Red Bull for Renault in 2019 has indirectly left Esteban Ocon facing the Formula 1 exit door.
The Australian surprised everyone when he performed an abrupt U-turn and decided to commit his future to the French manufacturer at the start of the summer break.
Before that point, Renault had all-but agreed to take on Ocon from Force India and this was before the Lawrence Stroll takeover scenario had taken place.
As it is now, the 21-year-old is almost certain to be replaced by Lance Stroll and those teams with seats left are hesitant to take Esteban on.
"The Ocon situation, I didn’t do it to screw him, but the effect of my move has put him in a bit of a position now," said Ricciardo to Motorsport.com in Singapore.
"If he doesn’t have a drive next year, sure he’s worthy of a drive. But I wouldn’t say he’s the first guy that’s missed it. It’s happened before that drivers with the talent have lost out.
"If he didn’t have a seat, do I think that’s the end of his F1 career? No, I don’t.
"I feel it’s always gone on, and it’s unfortunate. I don’t think it’s necessarily in a different place to what it has been."
One reason teams like Toro Rosso and McLaren have given for not considering Ocon is his association with Mercedes and the likelihood he could be called up in the coming years.
Motorsport boss Toto Wolff has hit back at those making excuses, including Renault and McLaren who both had prior conversations with the Frenchman.
“What was going on in July and August was unbelievable, there was so much politics, hidden agendas and lies going on in the background,” he told Sky Sports.
“In July he had two offers on the table with contracts on the table and it was just a matter of choosing which team was the right one.
“He ended up not having any anymore because people simply don’t have the balls to stick to what they say.”
The Austrian also gave the strongest indication yet that Ocon won't be on the grid next season.
“Not all of the good kids are going to end up in cars and Esteban is probably going to be one of them," he said. “We will look after him as he is one of the future stars."
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