27/09/2019

Esteban Ocon confirmed as new Renault F1 driver for 2020

The Renault Formula 1 Team will have a new driver in 2020 after announcing Frenchman Esteban Ocon will join Daniel Ricciardo in its line-up.
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Ocon, highly rated but without out a drive this year, will replace Nico Hülkenberg who has been with the team since the start of 2017.

The 22-year-old from Normandy was a revelation with the Racing Point (nee Force India) team during 2017’s and 2018’s F1 seasons. He was also the Mercedes F1 team’s reserve driver in 2018.

However he has a previous racing history with Renault Sport having been its F1 team’s reserve driver in 2016 when he first raced in the sport with the small Manor outfit.

Earlier in his career he won numerous races in Formula Renault and then went on to capture both the 2014 FIA European Formula 3 and 2015 GP3 titles.

Ocon commented: “First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver. I have grown up at Enstone (the team’s UK base), 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 motor sport 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."

Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said he had high expectations of Ocon and also praised Hülkenberg’s “massive” contribution to the team’s progress these past three seasons.

He said: “We are very happy to work with Esteban for the next two seasons. 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.”

Abiteboul added: “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.”