Both Mercedes and Renault have stressed that Esteban Ocon’s move to the Enstone team is not on a loan basis where the Silver Arrows can recall him.
After Valtteri Bottas sealed his spot with Mercedes for another season, Renault were able to quickly confirm Ocon as their second 2020 driver alongside Daniel Ricciardo.
Ocon has strong ties with Mercedes as they are also his management company, but there is a distinction in the terms of the deal as it does not include any clause over the next two years which would see the Frenchman back with the Silver Arrows.
“He is a Renault driver,” Abiteboul said in Friday’s FIA press conference at Spa, via Autosport.
“That is very clear. Mercedes will have absolutely no right on him for the duration of his contract.
“The small difference is that his management company happen to be a racing team and that is Mercedes.
“But it is a slightly different set-up from the set-up that we had with Carlos [Sainz Jr] last year. That was on a loan and not a contract with Red Bull, but he [Ocon] will be a fully fledged Renault driver.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also used that very same line to clear up any confusion over where Ocon’s loyalties lie.
“Esteban is a fully fledged Renault driver,” Wolff confirmed to Sky Sports F1.
“He is there for the next couple of years. He needs to perform in a works environment under the leadership of Renault and their guys and benchmarked against Daniel Ricciardo.
“He’s not going to look at anyone else other than himself and Renault.”