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Ocon replaces Hulkenberg at Renault for 2020

  • Published on 29 Aug 2019 14:01
  • comments 12
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Esteban Ocon has secured a spot on the 2020 grid, as he will join Renault alongside Daniel Ricciardo.

Mercedes announced earlier on Thursday that Valtteri Bottas would stay for the 2020 season, his fourth full campaign at the Silver Arrows, putting him out of contention for the seat.

Ocon's signature at Renault sees him tied down for two seasons, meaning he will be at Renault until at least the end of the 2021 season. 

Ocon last raced in F1 full-time in 2017 with Force India, before losing his seat to Lance Stroll after a consortium of investors, led by Lance's father Lawrence, took over the team.

Ocon replaces Nico Hulkenberg at the team who joined Renault in 2017, one year after it returned to the grid as a works team. 

"First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver," Ocon said. "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 boss has thanks Nico Hulkenberg for his services at the team, with the German driver now seeking another drive with Haas the most likely destination.

"I wish to thank Nico for his phenomenal involvement and massive contribution to our progress over the past three seasons," Abiteboul said. "When Nico decided to join us, the team was ninth.

"He brought us to fourth place last year, and was classified seventh in the drivers’ championship. The imminent end of his contract made this decision a difficult one as Nico has been a pillar of this progress.

"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."

Abiteboul added that Ocon's work with Mercedes throughout the 2019 season will be immensely valuable to Renault as it attempts to pull itself towards the front of the grid. 

"We are very happy to work with Esteban for the next two seasons," Abiteboul added. "Over his F1 career Esteban has experienced the highs and lows of the sport, and fully understood the need to seize every possible chance.

"In addition to lending his natural talent, Esteban’s aim will be to focus his natural energy and drive, both of which have been intensified by a year away from racing. It is then up to us to infuse them into the next phase of the team’s progress.

"He has shown his ability to score points, has great professionalism on and off the track, plus his recent experience as reserve driver to the current world champions will be a valuable asset to the development of our entire team."

Replies (12)

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  • I am happy for Ocon. He deserves a drive.
    Hope Nico can join Haas to replace Grosjean.

    • + 0
    • Aug 29 2019 - 14:22
  • good for him, well deserved.

    • + 1
    • Aug 29 2019 - 14:23
  • Kean

    Posts: 598

    Good for Ocon. I hope that Hülkenberg replaces Giovinazzi at Sauber though, instead of going to Haas.

    • + 0
    • Aug 29 2019 - 14:58
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,160

    I am still not convinced by Ocon. Teamplayer skills are lacking, not sure if he is quick enough. In the end no better than Bottas hence Mercedes offloaded him. He's OK in a quick car but is he quick in an OK car?

    For me he's a indycar level driver, good but not great. Will Renault do better with him than Nico?

    Hopefully Nico can get the Haas drive and displace Grosjean

    • + 0
    • Aug 29 2019 - 16:16
    • He is tall for an avg F1 driver, in the sport of midgets, its hard for people like him.

      • + 0
      • Aug 29 2019 - 16:47
    • Good points boudy. I'm not convinced by him either but he's got mettle while Renault is looking to step out of the status quo with the Hulk. I would like to see him at Haas or Alfa. He would probably do better than the drivers he would replace at either team. Sure would like to see him get a podium at least while he's in F1. What a crappy record to have, most races without a podium. He's always struck me as a pretty cool guy in the interviews and other clips I've seen of him offtrack.

      • + 0
      • Aug 29 2019 - 21:43
    • Kean

      Posts: 598

      My opinion regarding Ocon differs from yours, his racecraft needs some fine tuning, but I think he's fast enough. I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict that he'll beat Ricciardo in quali over next season. He may have a slow start to the season, but if there are 22 races next season I think Ocon will beat Ric 13-9 in quali. However, I think Ric will finish ahead on points but not by much.

      • + 0
      • Aug 30 2019 - 09:22
  • Good on Ocon, it'll be interesting to see him up against Ricciardo.

    • + 0
    • Aug 29 2019 - 19:35
    • As much as I hate to see Hulk go, the contest with Ricciardo would be great.

      • + 0
      • Aug 29 2019 - 20:29
  • skeleratis

    Posts: 6

    So glad. People knew this would come but I thought the Renault and Ocon thing was false. It's actually true. That meant Bottas got the Mercedes seat?

    • + 0
    • Aug 29 2019 - 22:07
  • skeleratis

    Posts: 6

    My verdict:
    Hulkenberg to Williams to replace Robert Kubica (Leaving F1 permanently)
    Grosjean to leave F1 (Crashjean out)
    New driver joining Haas F1 Team
    Giovanazzi out, new driver coming in.
    Kimi Raikkonen stays in Alfa Romeo for 2020 and 2021
    Hamilton renews for 2021-2030.

    • + 0
    • Aug 30 2019 - 10:04
  • Dert38

    Posts: 120

    Shame. Less than average driver

    • + 0
    • Aug 30 2019 - 13:09
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