Esteban Ocon, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2019

Ocon to make Renault test debut at Yas Marina

2020 F1 season

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Esteban Ocon will officially join the Renault F1 team in time for him to participate in the post-season test at the Yas Marina circuit.

The Mercedes reserve driver will become an official Renault driver on December 2nd, the team confirmed. That will be in time for the two-day test on December 3rd and 4th, which will be his first chance to drive the team’s RS19.

Ocon previously raced for Manor in the second half of 2016, and then for Force India in 2017 and 2018. He has been a simulator and reserve driver for Mercedes this year, and drove their W10 during a tyre test last month.

He is joining Renault in place of Nico Hulkenberg, who does not yet have a drive for next season.

All 10 teams are expected to participate in the test but so far only Renault have confirmed their driver arrangements.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 12 comments on “Ocon to make Renault test debut at Yas Marina”

    1. The Mercedes reserve driver will officially join Renault on December 2nd

      If Mercedes were going to have any chance of getting Max Verstappen to sign with them for the 2021 season then it was inevitable that Ocon wouldn’t be seen around the Mercedes garage next year.

      1. Is this a rumour or is Max our of contract end of 2020? RBR might not give up Max that easily and since their driver pool of upcoming talent has pretty much dried up they dont have any other driver on par with Max in their young driver program. Last time this team hired older and from outside their own program was for David Coulthard and Mark Webber in early days of team.

        1. @Chaitanya Yes, Max is under contract till the end of next season.

        2. AFAIK, the current contracts for practically all of the drivers run to the end of 2020. Not surprising, since that it when the current commercial agreements come to their end with FOM. There may be a few exceptions like Russell and Ocon, but most are definitely free for 2021. The “silly season” next year is going to be epic.

    2. I think he did reasonably well when paired with Checo at force india. You could even say he approached the races better than Hulkenburg when Hulk was there.

      1. Yeah. Sure. If taking your teammate out on several occasions is a better approach. :|

    3. A good move by Mercedes. Some teams let leaving-drivers test for their future team in a post-season test, while others don’t. Red Bull didn’t let Ricciardo test for Renault in the equivalent post-season test in Abu Dhabi twelve months ago, nor did they let Seb test for Ferrari in the 2014 post-season test. Renault let Sainzt test for Mclaren at the end of last season. Red Bull especially seems to see something harmful in letting a soon-to-be former driver test for his upcoming team even if it would only be for a car that isn’t going to be up-to-date relevant anymore.

      1. looking from a team point of view the less a driver can test then your own team is better then the team with a new driver who has to adjust in the first test first instead of doing real testing. It sucks for the driver but understandable.

      2. Sainz was still a Red Bull driver last year. He was on loan to Renault. So even the Austrians let a driver test for the new team at the end of year test.

        1. @watertower That option expired in September I believe. At that point Sainz was a free agent, with no ties to Red Bull.

    4. Nice to see.

      Be good to see Ocon back in a car again.

    5. I do believe that Ocon is probably a better driver than Hulkenberg, and certainly has a higher ceiling. Combined with his age and the fact he’s French, I can’t begrudge Renault’s decision to hire him. Using Perez as a basis for this comparison, we can somewhat get a comparison on Ocon and Hulkenberg. Perez got 101 points in 2016, and 100 points in 2017, meaning that the car was likely performing at a similar level in both seasons. In 2016, Hulkenberg got 72 points in the Force India, and in 2017, Ocon got 87 points. Note also that this was Ocon’s first full season in F1, and his first with the team, while it was Hulkenberg’s 6th season in F1, and 4th with Force India. That being said, Hulkenberg did get unlucky at times in 2016, but I do believe this paints a picture that Ocon is the better driver of the two.

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