F1: Esteban Ocon to replace Nico Hulkenberg at Renault in 2020

Mercedes' reserve driver Esteban Ocon returns to Formula One next season, with the Frenchman set to drive for Renault, replacing Nico Hulkenberg.

Having spent 2019 as Mercedes’ third and reserve driver after losing his drive at Racing Point at the end of 2018, Ocon will make his racing return with Renault in 2020.   -  Getty Images

Mercedes' reserve driver Esteban Ocon is all set for his Formula One return in 2020. The Frenchman will join Daniel Ricciardo on a multi-year deal at Renault next season, replacing Nico Hulkenberg.

Ocon’s confirmation for 2020 means Hulkenberg now finds himself without a seat for next year.

It remains unclear where he will end up, though Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner is said to be interested in him if the team decides not to retain Romain Grosjean for 2020.

“First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver,” said Ocon. “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.”

Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said of Ocon's deal, “We are very happy to work with Esteban for the next two seasons. Over his F1 career Esteban has experienced the highs and lows of the sport, and fully understood the need to seize every possible chance."

Renault’s confirmation of Ocon comes after Mercedes announced that it would be retaining Valtteri Bottas for 2020, with Ocon having previously been understood to be in the running for the drive alongside Lewis Hamilton.