Esteban Ocon has signed for Force India ahead of the 2017 season
That is the claim of Brazil's SporTV Formula One commentator Lito Cavalcanti, who has said that the Mercedes junior will replace Renault-bound Nico Hulkenberg, despite Felipe Nasr being a strong candidate for the drive.
"(Toto) Wolff made it clear to Force India that 'I want Ocon for this job'," Cavalcanti said, claiming that Force India will get a discount on their Mercedes engine deal in return for signing the Frenchman.
Meanwhile, Nasr is expected to stay at Sauber, alongside his current team mate Marcus Ericsson.
"The television audience in Brazil is very large," said Cavalcanti, "and this is significant for Bernie Ecclestone. So Nasr has all the support to get a spot."
With Ocon seemingly out of the running for a Renault seat, Magnussen is expected stay at Renault, which also gives a boost to Esteban Gutierrez's chances of remaining at Haas for a second year.
"Fortunately, we have other options," Gutierrez said, "which we are now considering strongly. I think it will be important to close something soon."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing