Manor have signed 19-year-old Esteban Ocon as Pascal Wehrlein’s team-mate from the remainder of the 2016 championship.
Hot on the heels of the news that Rio Haryanto had lost his race-seat after failing to meet his contractual obligations, Manor have confirmed Ocon as his replacement.
The Frenchman, who has taken part in four free practice sessions this season as Renault’s development driver, will make his Manor debut when F1 returns from the summer break with the Belgian GP.
“I’m thrilled that I’ll be making my grand prix debut with Manor Racing later this month, and at Spa, of all circuits, which is the next best thing to my home race,” he said.
“I’m ready for this exciting step up, thanks to the experience I’ve gained as a Formula 1 Reserve Driver this season. I’d like to thank Renault Sport F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz for working together to make this happen, and to Manor Racing for the opportunity, which I’m going to grab with both hands.
“I’ve visited the Manor Technical Centre already, for my seat fit and to meet with the wider team, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running after the summer break. They’ve done a great job this season and I’m excited that I’ve been tasked with helping them to build on that progress.
“I can’t wait to get started!”
Manor racing director Dave Ryan has welcomed the Mercedes protege to the team, confident that in Ocon they have one of motor racing’s rising stars.
“We are very pleased to welcome Esteban to Manor Racing for the remainder of the season,” he said. “He is clearly one of the rising stars of F1, shining in his Reserve Driver role with Renault, while also competing in the DTM with Mercedes-AMG this year.
“Our team has made significant strides in 2016, including finishing in the points for the first time in Austria last month. We need to maintain our pace of development in order to achieve our ambitions, not only for this season but also for the longer-term, so the calibre of a replacement is key.
“We’re confident that when Esteban makes his grand prix debut in Spa, we will have a very potent line-up with which to take the fight to our immediate competitors for the rest of the season.”