ENSTONE, England – After sitting on the sidelines this year, Esteban Ocon will return to Formula One competition in 2020 with Renault.
Ocon will replace veteran Nico Hulkenberg, joining forces with seven-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo at the French racing squad. Ocon signed a two-year contract with the team.
“We are very happy to work with Esteban for the next two seasons,” said Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal of the Renault F-1 Team. “Over his F-1 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.”
Ocon, 22, was previously part of Renault’s program as a reserve driver in 2016 and was a Lotus junior program member prior to Renault taking over the Lotus F-1 program.
The native of France made his F-1 debut in 2016 with Manor Racing before moving to Sahara Force India F-1 Team in 2017. In his first full season in the sport, he collected 87 points and finished eighth in the drivers’ championship. In 2018, Ocon collected 49 before joining Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team as reserve driver for the 2019 season.
“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,” Ocon said. “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 F-1. 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.”