Ocon "on loan" to Renault from Mercedes

Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Feb 4, 2016, 9:06 AM

Renault has revealed that its third driver Esteban Ocon remains under contract to Mercedes, and that the young Frenchman is "on loan" from the German manufacturer.

Carlos Ghosn, Renault President with drivers Jolyon Palmer, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon Renault F1 tests driver
Race 2 third place and 2015 GP3 champion Esteban Ocon, ART Grand Prix
(L to R): Jerome Stoll, Renault Sport F1 President with Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director
The Renault F1 Team car livery
Esteban Ocon, ART Grand Prix leads Luca Ghiotto, Trident
Pascal Wehrlein

GP3 champion Ocon was unveiled alongside Renault's race drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer at the French manufacturer's Formula 1 launch in Paris on Wednesday.

However, Ocon spent 2015 as Mercedes' reserve driver in DTM alongside his GP3 commitments with ART Grand Prix, and in November it was announced he would be retained in an unspecified junior role.

Speaking at the Paris launch, Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul confirmed that the 19-year-old is merely "on loan" from Mercedes.

Abiteboul said: "Esteban is great new addition for us for this year, and we are very excited to be taking part in his development.

"For the time being he is on a loan basis, it is happening in football – and then who knows?"

Newly unveiled Renault sporting director Frederic Vasseur – who worked with Ocon at ART – added that the Frenchman would not have been considered for the third driver role without being a contender for a future race seat.

"If I was considering that he's not a potentially a contender [for a future in F1], it would make no sense for me to ask him to jump," said Vasseur.

"I've known Esteban for a long time now, he has a very good team spirit."

Mercedes has still yet to announce its DTM line-up, but with Pascal Wehrlein's chances of breaking into F1 with Manor having recently increased, Ocon could yet combine his Renault duties with a race drive in the tin-top series.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Esteban Ocon
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Jamie Klein