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Esteban Ocon Reveals He Was Very Close to Replacing Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes F1 for 2020

Esteban Ocon Reveals He Was Very Close to Replacing Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes F1 for 2020

Esteban Ocon, the Frenchman who made his debut in Formula One with Manor Racing in 2016. Before the start of his career as an F1 driver, he clinched the GP3 series. Sahara Force India F1 team spotted him and signed him as the test driver. Ocon has been part of the Mercedes-Benz junior programme since 2015. He has driven in Formula 1 for Manor in 2016 and Force India (now SportPesa Racing Point) in 2017 and 2018. Esteban Ocon was unable to maintain his seat for 2019 as he was replaced by Lance Stroll. He remained a part of the Mercedes F1 team but as a reserve driver. He spent the majority of his time working on simulators or with engineers.

2020 Season for Esteban Ocon

Esteban was a contender to take the second Mercedes seat alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2020, however, the team decided to continue with Valtteri Bottas. He will return to F1 with Renault and is determined to prove that he is on the same level as Verstappen and Leclerc at the front of the field.

Esteban Ocon recently said he was close to partnering Hamilton for 2020. He also feels he can get a seat at Mercedes F1 as he is still managed by the company.

“Very close And until the last moment there were discussions. But that’s done now and I have to look ahead and what I have in front of me. ” Said Ocon to ESPN.

“I don’t think I am going to go into details. Maybe if you ask Toto. I think it was only him taking the decision, but I think he can explain it better. He explained it to me also, but his main reason is that of course I am still young and I have time.
 
“I’m still managed by Mercedes, which is different to the actual team. But the future is long in Formula One and I’m sure we will see each other again. We are not that far away from each other [in the paddock] anyway!”

It was announced on 29 August 2019 that Ocon will race for Renault starting in 2020, on a two-year contract. His Renault debut will mark his return to Formula One as a full-time driver. He is set to replace Nico Hülkenberg and partner with Daniel Ricciardo for the 2020 season.

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