Date: 16th August 2016 at 6:32am
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19-year-old Esteban Ocon will drive for Manor when Formula One returns from its summer break.

Ocon replaces Rio Haryanto, who has been sacked by Manor as he was unable to fulfil his ‘contractual obligations’.

Ocon is an interesting selection by Manor and he will have a lot of eyes on him, not only he is a part of the Mercedes-Benz driver development programme, he was also this seasons Renault reserve driver.

During his years in the junior formulas he has won races in Formula Renault 2.0, the FIA European Formula 3 Championship where he won the 2014 title and in GP3 where he won that championship in 2015.

This season he has had 10 races for Mercedes-Benz in DTM, but a race seat in Formula One will really give him a platform to shine.

Being placed in a race seat alongside the highly thought of Pascal Wehrlein, will enable everyone to evaluate just how good Ocon could be and Renault will be keeping a watching brief with their 2017 seat still available for next season.

‘It is an outstanding opportunity for Esteban to gather mileage and race experience in a young, stable and very professional team,’ Renault team chief Cyril Abiteboul told Sky Sports.

‘Esteban will be up against a highly rated and quick teammate, which will enable us to evaluate him in a representative environment. I hope this experience will be of great benefit for him and for Renault in the near future.’

The comments appear to be a warning shot to Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen, suggesting their seat in the ‘near future’ could be under threat.

One team taking a longer term view is Mercedes, with both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg contracted until the end of the 2018 season.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: ‘Esteban did an exceptional job in the works Mercedes at the Silverstone test and we are excited to see him take his first steps in an F1 race environment.’

 

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