Next year will see Frenchman and now ex Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon join the Renault F1 team for two years alongside ex Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, displacing the German Nico Hulkenberg.
Mercedes boss today revealed that Ocon would not be able to return to the Brackley based team, even if Bottas or Hamilton decide not to renew their Mercedes contracts.
“No, there is no clause,” Wolff said to RaceFans at Monza. “He is a full-fledged Renault works driver for the next two years and with certain option afterwards on both sides. No clause to come back in 2021.”
“Esteban and I discussed a week ago how long he should stay in the various roles,” Wolff added. “I said ‘the longer you stay, the more information you’re taking with you’ and he said ‘well of course I’m going to take all this information with me’. So it’s a transition.
“He’s in our simulator and that is an important role in helping us to develop the car. But step-by-step, Esteban is going to fade out of the meetings about the future, things that impact next year’s car or that are deemed to be sensitive from the engineering or innovation point-of-view.”
Onboard with Ocon against Verstappen Brazil 2018
Meanwhile, Ocon is thinking about his time in F1 next year, indeed he revealed to the Dutch website GPToday.net just what is on his mind; the new Renault driver for 2020 is looking forward to racing against Max Verstappen again.
Nobody can forget the coming together in Brazil last year when Ocon was racing for Force India, that resulted in Verstappen losing the lead to Hamilton. The result becoming physical on the part of the Dutchman at the driver weigh-in post race.
“I can’t say where I’ll be next season compared to the rest, but I know what I want. I want to have a car as good as Max Verstappen and be able to fight him again.” says Ocon.
When asked if Verstappen is a motivation point for Ocon he answered: “Yes, he is a kind of target for me.”
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