Renault’s Formula 1 team are certainly not hanging about on its summer holidays. Just moments after hearing that Valtteri Bottas was staying at Mercedes for the 2020 season, the team confirmed that it has signed the Silver Arrows’ current development driver Esteban Ocon for the 2020 season.
As you’ll well know, it was heavily rumored that the 22-year-old Frenchman would take the second seat at Mercedes next year, but the Germans have stuck with Valtteri Bottas. That means Ocon will now partner Daniel Ricciardo at Renault for the final season before F1’s new rules and regulations arrive to shake things up from 2021 onwards.
“First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver,” said Ocon, who was a Lotus junior program member from 2010 and Renault’s reserve driver back in 2016.
“I am very attached to this team and everyone who works there (the Enstone factory); 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.”
They’re some serious skills too. The youngster has two full F1 seasons under his belt already—scoring 87 points for Force India in 2017, before notching a further 49 points a year later. He also won the 2014 FIA Formula 3 title.
His appointment at Renault leaves Nico Hülkenberg without a seat, though. Any guesses on where the German will end up?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.