Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has blamed "hidden agendas and lies" for Esteban Ocon's failure to secure a seat for the 2019 Formula One season.
The Frenchman is driving for Force India this year but is unlikely to continue with them following the takeover led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who is expected to bring in his son, Lance, from Williams.
Ocon - who came through Mercedes' young driver programme - appeared set to sign with Renault at one stage, only for Daniel Ricciardo to instead join the team to partner Nico Hulkenberg next year.
With McLaren also no longer an option following their decision to promote test driver Lando Norris, Wolff has hit out at the politics in F1, insisting Ocon is only without a drive because "people simply don't have the balls to stick to what they say."
"What has been going on this year in July and August was just unbelievable," he told Sky F1.
"There was so much politics in the background, hidden agendas and lies. Not all of the good kids are going to be in cars next year and Esteban will probably be one of them.
"In July he had two offers on the table and it was just a case of choosing which one was the right one. Then he ended up without anything because people simply don't have the balls to stick to what they say.
"But it is no problem, we have to sort it out with Esteban. He is a strong guy, he has been through difficult moments in his career and we will fix this one as well."
Williams could yet be an option for Ocon, though Wolff will not consider Mercedes severing ties with the 21-year-old just to aid his short-term future.
"Not in a million years, because one day he is going to be in a Mercedes and win races and championships and show all the others out there that they made a mistake," he replied when asked about a potential parting of the ways.
Mercedes have, however, ended their relationship with Pascal Wehrlein, who previously raced in F1 with Manor and Sauber.
"My contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season and we have jointly decided not to continue further together," Wehrlein said.
"I am looking for new challenges and opportunities, and am currently talking to other teams about a cockpit for next season."
24. September 2018
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23. September 2018
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