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Williams looking to secure budget and Ocon for 2019

Written by  Oct 19, 2018

Williams is trying to find enough sponsorship income to enable them to secure both their budget and Esteban Ocon for 2019, Autosport has revealed.

The British team is the last resort for the Frenchman who is to be dropped by Force India and replaced by Lance Stroll for next season much to the chagrin of everyone in the Formula 1 paddock. 

However, while the Grove-based squad have made it clear they want to sign Esteban, the loss of title sponsor Martini and the financial backing offered by Stroll means they need to find additional revenue and that is why current driver Sergey Sirotkin and now Robert Kubica are both considered more likely options.

Having already signed a Mercedes junior in George Russell for next season, it is unknown if the German manufacturer would be willing to also support Ocon and that is why the search for sponsors is on.

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The 21-year-old could be forgiven for feeling a little peeved about the whole situation but in Austin on Thursday he praised the step up for the current F2 championship leader.

"It was good to see that George is promoted," Ocon said. "He's also part of the Mercedes junior programme and he's signed for multiple years, and that was not our intention to sign for that many years.

"There's still a second seat at Williams, there's still talks, so we'll see where that goes. Congratulations to George. He's in a different way in his career than I am."

Ocon also reassured Russell's move to F1 wasn't a case of him being preferred over the Force India driver.

"He was not at all stealing my spot, that was not the way it happened," he clarified. "If Williams wants me it’s fantastic news, if they don’t, they don’t."

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