Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul has dropped the strongest hint yet that they are considering Esteban Ocon for a race seat next year after he revealed that the team are evaluating the young Frenchman after his move to Manor.
Ocon, a Mercedes junior driver, has been on loan at Renault this season where he has served as a reserve driver. Many expected the reigning GP3 champion to graduate to Formula One next year in a race seat for Renault but after Rio Haryanto's backing ran out, he has been given an early opportunity, in place of the Indonesian at Manor.
"Esteban joining Manor Racing for the last nine races of the season demonstrates the excellent relationship the two teams, Renault Sport Formula One Team and Mercedes-Benz, have maintained for several years," said Abiteboul. "It is an outstanding opportunity for Esteban to gather mileage and race experience in a young, stable and very professional team."
"Esteban will be up against a highly rated and quick team mate, which will enable us to evaluate him in a representative environment. I hope this experience will be of great benefit for him and for Renault in the near future."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing