Esteban Ocon has no return to Mercedes clause in Renault contract

11-09-2019 08:16
by Bobby Vincent
General
Esteban Ocon has no return to Mercedes clause in Renault contract

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has explained that Esteban Ocon has not got an escape clause in his new Renault deal that would allow the Frenchman to return to Mercedes in 2021.

Ocon is currently Mercedes' reserve driver this season after taking a season out of Formula 1. However, it was announced recently that the driver would be replacing Nico Hulkenberg at Renault for 2020 despite speculation he'd be replacing Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows.

Wolff has revealed that Ocon will not be able to return to Brackley even if Bottas or Lewis Hamilton decide not to renew their Mercedes contracts.

"No, there is no clause," Wolff said to RaceFans at Monza. "He is a full-fledged Renault works driver for the next two years and with certain option afterwards on both sides. No clause to come back in 2021."

With Ocon knowing a lot of Mercedes' technical information, him moving to a rival team may not seem like the best idea, but Wolff has ensured the French driver will be "faded out" of meetings in the future.

"Esteban and I discussed a week ago how long he should stay in the various roles," Wolff added. "I said 'the longer you stay, the more information you're taking with you' and he said 'well of course I'm going to take all this information with me'. So it's a transition.

"He's in our simulator and that is an important role in helping us to develop the car. But step-by-step, Esteban is going to fade out of the meetings about the future, things that impact next year's car or that are deemed to be sensitive from the engineering or innovation point-of-view."

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