Mercedes: Giving up Ocon not a sign we're leaving F1

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists the team isn't pulling out of Formula 1 despite giving up Esteban Ocon to Renault.

Having deliberated over the summer, the Brackley-based squad opted to keep Valtteri Bottas rather than take on their top junior driver, who has spent 2019 as the reserve.

At a time though when the sport is still negotiating new regulations for 2021, the threat of a manufacturer such as Mercedes at least giving up their works team remains.

“You’re expecting me to say that we are quitting Formula 1 now, and the Esteban contract is actually an indication of that? No," Wolff said when asked why they decided not to commit to Ocon long-term.

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“There’s many contracts that go beyond 2020, and many contracts beyond that time that can be cancelled. All the signs are on green for us to continue in the sport, we like what we do and it makes a lot of sense for the brand."

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“Having said that, in this day and age things change quickly and you have to keep your eye on the ball," the Austrian continued.

“We are lucky to have such a mighty brand behind us and the board of directors behind us, but things have to develop in the right way to assure that long term.

“The Esteban contract isn’t an indication of whether we stay in the sport or not.”