Ocon to drive for Renault next season

Ocon to drive for Renault next season”

He will compete alongside Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, leaving German driver Nico Hulkenberg without a seat. The Frenchman is well known to Renault and Enstone, having been reserve driver in 2016 and also a Lotus junior programme member.

A contender to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2020 before the team confirmed it was keeping Valtteri Bottas, Ocon will now slot in alongside Ricciardo on an initial two-year Renault deal. They are the ones who opened the doors of top level motorsport for me, " Ocon said.

"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".

Bottas said: "I am very happy and proud to be part of the team for a fourth season and wish to thank every team member and the board of Mercedes for their trust and belief in me".

Ocon has a point to prove after sitting out this season in frustrating circumstances.

Ocon previously drove full-time for Sahara/Racing Point Force India in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he lost his ride after Canadian billionaire investor Lawrence Stroll led a consortium to purchase the team and replaced him with his son Lance ahead of the 2019 season.

But the Brackley-based team chose to stick with Valtteri Bottas in a deal announced earlier on Thursday.

Swede Ericsson, who was demoted to test and reserve driver a year ago, was scheduled to take part in an IndyCar race in Portland this weekend. The relieved Bottas signed the paperwork last weekend, and then celebrated in style.

After a winless season, Bottas bounced back this year with two wins and seven other podium finishes to emerge as Hamilton's main rival as the Briton bids for a sixth title. He started this season strongly, winning two of the first four races and even leading the championship ahead of Hamilton.

Abiteboul says it was a hard decision to replace Hulkenberg, who moved to Renault in 2017. It is then up to us to infuse them into the next phase of the team's progress.

Hulkenberg said on Twitter: "It's a pity that the journey with Renault will end after the season, especially as we haven't been able to reach our goals yet". However, Wolff was reluctant to make any decision which left either of his drivers fighting to save their F1 future, making it likely he has found a seat elsewhere on the grid for Ocon - confirmation of that news is expected to follow imminently. "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". He brought us to fourth place previous year, and was classified seventh in the drivers' championship. Ocon had been in the running to replace Bottas but team boss Toto Wolff did what he was unable to do this time a year ago and secure him a place elsewhere on the grid.

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