Even though French driver Esteban Ocon has remained in contention at Mercedes to replace Valtteri Bottas should the latter be relieved of his duties next year, recent reports suggest that the German outfit will retain the Finn, with Ocon possibly signing a two-year deal with Renault.
In doing so, the young Frenchman would in turn replace Nico Hulkenberg, who doesn’t have a contract beyond this season. Meanwhile, “The Hulk” could be in line for a seat at Haas, replacing Romain Grosjean.
According to Auto Bild, Mercedes is close to making a decision, and if Bottas is indeed going to stay, we can certainly understand why Renault would look to somebody like Ocon as an ideal teammate to Daniel Ricciardo.
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Aside from being one of the most talented young drivers in F1, Ocon would also cost considerably less than Hulkenberg. However, French broadcaster RMC Sport claims that these deals have yet to be made as Renault want to first ensure Hulkenberg will secure another seat for next year before giving up on him – which is where Haas could come in.
As always, a lot of dominos need to fall into place before these types of moves can begin taking place. It seems that everything rests on Mercedes’ decision, because if Bottas ends up leaving, then the landscape might shift differently for 2020.
Otherwise, we can definitely see “Ocon to Renault” happening, and not just for financial and upside reasons. Hulkenberg hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations this year, having amassed just 17 points midway through the 2019 F1 season. But whether or not the German’s next stop will indeed be Haas, that remains to be seen.