Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has backed Esteban Ocon’s claim that Mercedes will not interfere with his career at least for the next three years.
The Renault-owned team has signed a new long-term contract with the Frenchman, despite the fact that Ocon remains managed by Mercedes and Toto Wolff.
“There is no reference to Mercedes in his contract,” Rossi clarified at Paul Ricard.
“He is managed by them and that’s about it. There is no clause for Mercedes to remove him from our team or anything like that.
“He will be with us for the next three years,” he insisted.
Rossi said Ocon, 24, is “damn fast” and “a great guy”, which is why he felt confident about signing him up for a full three years.
“At Renault, we have a medium to long term approach. We want to be here for a long time and this is the first step,” he said.
“We have already seen enough in the performance of Esteban to know that he is good, so I don’t want to be looking for another driver again in two years.
“We have learned from the past that those situations are not always good,” added Rossi, undoubtedly referring to Renault’s loss of Daniel Ricciardo.
“If you have a good driver, you want to keep him, so for me this is a guarantee that we will be fine in terms of the driver. So we definite didn’t make a big mistake here.”