Image source: thisisf1.com
February 2nd 2016
Esteban Ocon is set to be named as Renault's reserve driver for the 2016 Formula 1 season, Autosport can reveal.
Towards the end of November last year Mercedes decided to take up its option on GP3 champion Ocon's contract and made him a fully-fledged member of its F1 team.
But following talks with Mercedes, the 19-year-old Frenchman is to move into the reserve role at Renault behind Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, according to sources.
Providing negotiations have been concluded between both teams, Ocon will join Palmer and Magnussen at Renault's official launch at the French manufacturer's Technocentre in Guyancourt on Wednesday.
Frederic Vasseur - who was Ocon's boss at the ART GP3 team - is to be officially announced as Renault racing director at the same event.
Ocon joins Renault with pedigree as he captured the European Formula 3 title in 2014, and followed up with victory in last year's GP3 championship.
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff suggested last year Ocon's role for this season was open, with a variety of options on the table.
With a Renault reserve place now seemingly secured, it remains to be seen whether Ocon will combine that with a drive in another series.
Ocon could follow Mercedes reserve Pascal Wehrlein's lead from last year as the latter combined his own back-up role with the F1 team with a title-winning drive in the DTM.
GP2 is another possibility for Ocon, although with a number of that series' sessions so close to those in F1 on GP weekends, that may be ruled out.
Last year Ocon said the DTM would be his preference if given the chance.
News source: autosport.com
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