Ocon to replace Hulkenberg at Renault for 2020 season
Esteban Ocon looks on in the garage during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Canada (Photo credit: Charles Coates,Getty Images)

Ocon to replace Hulkenberg at Renault for 2020 season

Esteban Ocon has been announced as a Renault driver for the 2020 season in place of Nico Hulkenberg, as Valtteri Bottas extends Mercedes stay.

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Matthew Watkinson

The Frenchman was unfortunate to be without a seat for the 2019 season, especially after impressing in the Force India previously, however the appointment of Lawrence Stroll as part-owner meant son Lance Stroll would force him out the door.

As Mercedes’ reserve driver, it was widely assumed that Esteban Ocon would step into the shoes of Valtteri Bottas after the Finn’s form began to dip after an impressive start to the season.

However, Renault have announced that Ocon will partner long term project Daniel Ricciardo at the French outfit.

Ocon has said, "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. 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."

Bottas retained for 2020

Prior to Ocon's Renault appointment, Mercedes confirmed Bottas as teammate to Lewis Hamilton for the fourth consecutive season.

“I am very happy and proud to be part of the team for a fourth season and wish to thank every team member and the board of Mercedes for their trust and belief in me," said Bottas. “My performances have been getting better and better each year, and this is a great way to kick start the second half of 2019.

“My overall target is to become Formula One world champion. I believe that on paper, and from my experience with the team, Mercedes is the best option for me to achieve that goal in 2020.”

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Where next for Hulk?

After years of consistency throughout Formula 1, Nico Hulkenberg has struggled at Renault this season and with Ricciardo having only recently signed a multi-million-pound deal after leaving Red Bull last term, the German will be forced to seek pastures new for the upcoming season.

Haas are being touted as potential suitors for Hulkenberg as there is widely expected to be change amongst the ranks of the American outfit, particularly after on-track altercations between both drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

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Grosjean’s underperformance and consistent errors throughout the season could see him as the most vulnerable to face the axe.

Having accumulated as little as eight-points in 12 races, the Frenchman has also retired six times which as a result could make it difficult to find a seat at all next season.

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