Ocon to return full-time to F1 in 2020 with Renault!


The winds of change will blow through Renault next season, with the French outfit confirming that it will replace Nico Hulkenberg with Esteban Ocon for 2020.

The 22-year-old Mercedes reserve driver's move to Renault became highly probable once the German outfit opted to retain Valtteri Bottas for 2020.

Ocon will join Daniel Ricciardo at Renault after a year on the sidelines, having been forced out of his seat at Force India following the team's takeover by Lawrence Stroll over the summer of 2018.

The Canadian billionaire logically drafted in his son Lance to race alongside Sergio Perez at the renamed Racing Point team, while Ocon - a Mercedes protégé - was assigned to a reserve and simulator role with the Silver Arrows squad for 2019.

"First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver," said Ocon who signed a multi-year deal with Renault, a team for which he tested in 2014 and 2016.

"I have grown up at Enstone, starting with Lotus in 2010 and then with Renault. I am very attached to this team and everyone who works there; they are the ones who opened the doors of top level motorsport for me.

"Secondly, I am pleased that a team with big ambitions has entrusted me with the opportunity to once again demonstrate my skills at the highest level of F1. It is a responsibility I take very seriously.

"The confidence they have in me to help the progression of the team is a very positive pressure and I look forward to giving the best of myself."


Ocon's recruitment forces Nico Hulkenberg to seek refuge elsewhere, with Haas seen as a strong option for the German.

But an alternative for the Hulk could be Red Bull, if Alex Albon's stint with the Milton Keynes-based squad disappoints.

However, waiting until the end of the season for a resolution on that front could prove a risky option for Hulkenberg as he could potentially miss out on the Haas option.

Renault F1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul was delighted to welcome Ocon back into the French manufacturer's family.

"We are very happy to work with Esteban for the next two seasons," said Abiteboul

"Over his F1 career Esteban has experienced the highs and lows of the sport, and fully understood the need to seize every possible chance.

"In addition to lending his natural talent, Esteban’s aim will be to focus his natural energy and drive, both of which have been intensified by a year away from racing. It is then up to us to infuse them into the next phase of the team’s progress.

"He has shown his ability to score points, has great professionalism on and off the track, plus his recent experience as reserve driver to the current world champions will be a valuable asset to the development of our entire team."


Abiteboul also has word of acknowledgment for Hulkenberg.

"I wish to thank Nico for his phenomenal involvement and massive contribution to our progress over the past three seasons.

"When Nico decided to join us, the team was ninth. He brought us to fourth place last year, and was classified seventh in the drivers’ championship.

"The imminent end of his contract made this decision a difficult one as Nico has been a pillar of this progress. The first part of this season has been more challenging, but I know we can count on him and deliver together throughout the second half of the year."

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