Renault has confirmed Esteban Ocon will join the team for the 2020 Formula 1 season on a multiple year contract, driving alongside Daniel Ricciardo at the Enstone team.
The announcement comes following Mercedes’s confirmation earlier today that Valtteri Bottas will remain with the Silver Arrows for a further season.
The 22-year-old isn’t completely new to the team, having previously served as their reserve driver in 2016, and was part of Lotus’s development programme prior to Renault’s full-time return to the sport.
In a statement confirming the move, Ocon said: “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.”
!! I’m back !! Delighted to announce I will be joining @renaultf1team . Exciting time ahead, can’t wait 👌🏻
!!🇫🇷 Je suis de retour 🇫🇷!! Très heureux d’annoncer que je rejoins Renault F1 team une équipe qui m’a fait grandir. Hâte de commencer 🔥👌🏻 #EO31 pic.twitter.com/M1dfJsBnXD
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) August 29, 2019
Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul added: “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. 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.”
As Abiteboul alludes to in his comments, Ocon’s arrival means the end of Nico Hulkenberg’s spell as a Renault driver. The German has been heavily linked with a move to Haas, who are thought to be keen to move on from Romain Grosjean.