Belgian Grand Prix – Renault have confirmed that Esteban Ocon will replace Nico Hulkenberg at Renault from the 2020 season onwards.
The Renault team have confirmed Esteban Ocon from the 2020 season onwards. There had been rumours for weeks surrounding the seat alongside Daniel Ricciardo for next year, with Ocon’s name being the most heavily linked with the drive.
With Mercedes confirming Valtteri Bottas early on Thursday morning at Spa-Francorchamps, Renault followed suit shortly after by announcing Ocon on a multi-year deal at the team alongside Ricciardo. Ocon returns from a year on the sidelines after failing to secure a seat for 2019 after Force India, the team he drove for in 2018, was bought out by the Racing Point consortium.
“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.”
With Nico Hulkenberg thus without a confirmed drive for 2019, Abiteboul praised his outgoing driver after joining the team at the start of 2017: “I wish to thank Nico for his phenomenal involvement and massive contribution to our progress over the past three seasons. 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.”
With Ocon returning to the Formula 1 field after being a Renault affiiliated driver throughout most of his junior career, he beamed: “First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver.”
“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.”