Ocon spent a season at Mercedes as the reserve driver but has now been called upon by the French manufacturer and he is keen to challenge experienced driver Daniel Ricciardo in his debut season at the side.
With Hulkenberg moving from Renault, Abiteboul has said on the Beyond the Grid podcast that he believes the younger and fresher Ocon is a better driver than the experienced German driver: "The problem sometimes in F1 is you have people doing very long careers, and at the end, they are a bit... just to be in Formula 1 and almost (victory) becomes secondary. I don't want that at any point in the company.
"Don't get me wrong, when I'm saying that... I am not talking about Nico... but I do feel that when you are 22, it's early days of your career - a career for which you had to fight a lot... it's a different dynamic. It's the sort of dynamic that I feel is the right dynamic for our team.
"So, if you ask me whether we've taken Esteban because Esteban is simply a better driver than Nico, I am absolutely unable to tell you... but do I believe that it's better in the dynamic of our team? Yes, I feel so."