Esteban Ocon will take to Renault an abundance of inside information about the Mercedes operation thanks to his spell as their Formula 1 reserve and, as a result, the World Champions are likely to phase out the Frenchman’s role within the team.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told the official F1 website, “Esteban and I discussed… how long he should stay in his various roles, and I said: The longer you stay, the more information you are taking with you.
“And he replied: Of course, I am going to take all this information with me!”
To counter Wolff revealed that Ocon “will fade out of the meetings about the future, things that impact next year’s car or that we deem to be sensitive from the engineering or innovation point of view, but he’s still with us this season and does some very valuable work that we need in order to win this championship.”
Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul is adamant that the 21-year-old hotshot ‘belongs’ to the French team in what appears to be a complex contract that has led to the release of Ocon to partner Daniel Ricciardo next year, with Nico Hulkenberg shown the door.
Wolff explained, “There’s no clause. He’s a fully-fledged Renault works driver for the next two years with certain options afterwards on both sides – no clause to come back in 2021.”
Ocon was forced to sit out this season after narrowly missing out on the Renault seat last year, but he remained relevant with a presence in the paddock and aided by Wolff has cemented a return to the top flight, to add to his 50 Grand Prix starts he made with Force India (41) and Manor (9).