Ocon to test for Mercedes after Renault outings

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Esteban Ocon will drive the championship-leading Mercedes W07 on the second day of next week’s post-Spanish Grand Prix test, one day after piloting the Renault R.S.16, per multiple reports.

The Frenchman will take over from F1 points leader Nico Rosberg, who is set to drive on the opening day in Barcelona. Although Ocon was appointed as Renault’s third driver for the 2016 season, the 19-year-old remains on loan from Mercedes.

The German manufacturer added Ocon to its junior roster ahead of his 2015 GP3 Series title-winning. As part of his Mercedes commitments, the Normandy-born racer also competes in DTM this year and actually had a challenging debut last weekend at Hockenheim.

Ocon is primed for a busy testing programme over the next week since he is also scheduled to replace Renault’s Jolyon Palmer in FP1 at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this coming Friday.

Current F1 regulations state that teams must field young pilots who have less than a pair of grand prix starts under their belts in two of their four days of in-season testing. Besides Ocon, fellow reserve or development drivers Alex Lynn (Williams), Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren-Honda), and Alfonso Celis Jr (Force India) have already been confirmed.

Sauber recently announced it was skipping the first in-season test because it did not have any updates to test, nor any young driver to run. However, Autosport reports that Haas will test its full-time drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez in Barcelona, with the US newcomers grooming Ferrari Driver Academy member Charles Leclerc for future outings.

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