Ocon to be Mercedes reserve driver

Ocon to be Mercedes reserve driver

Esteban Ocon
photo: Force India

Esteban Ocon will be reserve and development driver roles for the Mercedes Formula 1 team in 2019.

Ocon looks set for a year on the F1 sidelines next season with Lance Stroll expected to take his Force India seat, while attempts to find full-time drives at Renault, McLaren, and Williams all failed to come off.

Mercedes has now announced Ocon will take on a non-racing role with the German manufacturer. The team boss Toto Wolff confirming a reserve and development position for the Frenchman in 2019.

“The plans are pretty clear, Toto Wolff said. – He will be close to the works Mercedes team. He is going to be our reserve and third driver.

We hope to also do the odd test with him looking at pre-season and in-season. He will spend a lot of time in the simulator and be ready for a seat in 2020.”

With Valtteri Bottas only has a contract to Mercedes until the end of 2019, there is a chance Ocon could be teammate to the reigning world champions alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2020.

Ocon insisted Mercedes had given him “no assurances” about a race seat in 2020 when he faced the media in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.