On the move Ocon inching closer to Renault

Esteban Ocon (FRA), Sahara Force India F1 Team.
© XPB 

Esteban Ocon's rumored move from Force India to Renault next season gathered steam in Hockenheim, with paddock insiders believing the deal is as good as done.

Ocon's name was shortlisted by the French manufacturer as a 'plan B' option in the event that Carlos Sainz would be recalled to Red Bull, should Daniel Ricciardo decide to leave the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

After Mercedes confirmed its line-up for 2019, an extension of the Aussie's contract with Red Bull Racing appears to be a formality, therefore calling into question Sainz's return to base.

However, Renault could ultimately turn away from the Spaniard and welcome Ocon - a French driver - to its squad.

The 21-year-old pink panther is managed by Mercedes, and there have apparently been meetings in Hockenheim this weekend between Toto Wolff and Renault's Cyril Abiteboul, adding fuel to the rumor of Ocon's move from Brackley to Enstone.

Indeed, Wolff admitted such a prospect was a distinct possibility.

"Esteban is doing a very good job," Wolff told France's Le Figaro.

"He has a lot of options, which is very good for him. Now we must choose what is the best for him. Renault is certainly one of the possibilities."

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer is more prudent however on Ocon's chances of moving on from the Silverstone's based team.

"I do not think there is any agreement with Renault, in fact we have the option of staying with him," the American said at Hockenheim.

Confirmation of Ocon's transfer would leave Sainz out in the cold, but the Spaniard could find a new home at McLaren, with or without friend and mentor Fernando Alonso by his side in 2019.

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