Esteban Ocon could replace Logan Sargeant at Williams for the second half of F1 2024 if Alpine decide to release the Frenchman early from his contract, a wild (and unlikely) paddock rumour at the British Grand Prix has suggested.

Reports on Saturday, verified by PlanetF1.com, claimed Ocon has signed a contract to join Haas for the F1 2025 season, with an announcement expected prior to the summer break.

Esteban Ocon at centre of wild Williams swap rumour

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

It comes after Haas announced the signing of highly rated Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman on Thursday at Silverstone, with the American team set to field an all-new driver lineup next season.

Ocon is known to have held talks with the likes of Audi, who will take over the existing Sauber team in F1 2026, and Williams since it was announced last month that he will leave Alpine at the expiry of his contract at the end of F1 2024.

Sargeant is at risk of being dropped by Williams at the end of this year, having scored just a single point since arriving on the grid at the start of last season.

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It has emerged that Sargeant is in talks to race in IndyCar with Prema Racing in 2025, with team boss Rene Rosin confirming his interest in the American this week.

Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com on Friday, team principal James Vowles admitted Williams are “open minded” to the possibility of replacing Sargeant before the F1 2024 campaign is out.

He said: “We’re continually evaluating it.

“What we’ve said to Logan is it’s a meritocracy. You have to make sure you earn your place in the sport continuously. That’s been the same message that has been for 18 months really for him.

“We are open-minded to things.

“What I’ve said before and I’ve maintained today is that our car – and this is a responsibility on my shoulders and the team – isn’t quick enough. It’s not a driver issue we suffer from today. We’ve simply been out-developed and we have to make sure we accelerate that process.”

Vowles comments came after he admitted that Williams may soon be forced to consider other drivers to become Alex Albon’s team-mate for F1 2025 with top target Carlos Sainz stalling on a decision on his future.

Rumours over recent months have suggested that Williams could field Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli in the second half of the season, with the Italian a leading contender to replace seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton next season.

A recent change to the rulebook by F1’s governing body the FIA would theoretically allow Antonelli to make his F1 debut before his 18th birthday on the day of the Dutch Grand Prix on August 25.

However, Sky F1 reporter Ted Kravitz has claimed Ocon could yet replace Sargeant during the F1 2024 season, which would allow Alpine to evaluate reserve driver Jack Doohan for a potential race seat alongside Pierre Gasly next year.

PlanetF1.com understands Kravitz’s claims to be complete speculation, with Sargeant being given every opportunity by Williams to justify his place on the grid.

Kravitz said: “Who could replace Logan Sargeant mid-season?

“Could it be Kimi Antonelli? Unlikely it seems Mercedes want him to complete his Formula 2 season – but it’s not impossible.

“Could it be the likes of Jack Doohan or Liam Lawson? It’s unlikely for them.

“What’s being rumoured around the paddock is that Alpine could suggest an early release for Esteban Ocon, who could go to replace Logan Sargeant at Williams.

“Alpine could get Jack Doohan in for an early debut ahead of a potential full-time race drive next year.

“That could be the swap that could enable Williams to have an experienced hand like Ocon for the rest of the season, maybe after the summer break if they decide not to continue with Logan Sargeant.”

Alpine announced that Ocon would leave the team last month, eight days after a collision with team-mate Gasly on the opening lap of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The incident drew a furious response from Bruno Famin, the Alpine team principal, who described Ocon’s “attack” as “totally out of circumstances” and warned of “consequences.”

Famin’s comments sparked suggestions that Ocon could be benched by the team at the following race in Canada. Speaking in Montreal, however, the Alpine boss insisted that standing his driver down was “never” a consideration.

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