The Renault F1 Team has signed current Mercedes reserve Esteban Ocon for at least the 2020 and 2021 Formula 1 seasons.
Ocon will take Nico Hulkenberg’s seat at Renault having signed what the team has described as a ‘multiple year contract’ in its announcement.
The Frenchman had also been regarded as a possible replacement for Mercedes-AMG F1 Team’s Valtteri Bottas but the Brackley squad has now renewed its option on the Finn.
“First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver,” said Ocon.
“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.”
Ocon last drove as a grand prix driver for Force India in 2018 before he was ousted to make way for Lance Stroll as that team evolved into Racing Point, a point alluded to by Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul.
“We are very happy to work with Esteban for the next two seasons,” said Abiteboul.
“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.”
Daniel Ricciardo is in the first of a two-year deal with Renault after a shock switch from Red Bull Racing which initially blocked a likely Ocon move to the Enstone team.