Esteban Ocon has been granted an early release from Mercedes to join the Renault F1 Team in December, in time for the Abu Dhabi test.
Ocon was confirmed to join Renault ahead of the Singapore GP weekend as a replacement to Nico Hulkenberg alongside Daniel Ricciardo from the 2020 F1 season onward. He remains under the Mercedes management but will drive for the French manufacturer still.
Despite the signing of the deal, Ocon and Renault still had one more hurdle to pass, that of an early release. The primary reason is the post-season two-day Abu Dhabi F1 test at Yas Marina circuit for Pirelli, where they will run the 2020 tyres.
Over the Brazil GP weekend, Ocon revealed about the on-going talks with Mercedes to let him join Renault early, especially for the Abu Dhabi test, which the German manufacturer has agreed to with the French outfit confirming the news on Wednesday.
Ocon will join Renault on December 2, a day after the Abu Dhabi GP and will then drive the car on December 3 and 4, to not only get the first taste of the 2020 tyres but crucially get track time in the new car and also take first steps towards knowing the whole team.
Last year, Renault and Red Bull were in a similar position with Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard was allowed by both to test for McLaren in Abu Dhabi, which helped him immensely as the results can be seen on track as he sits seventh in the drivers’ standings.
Effectively, Ocon is the first driver to be confirmed for the two-day test with rest of the teams to confirm its line-up as the weekend nears. Most are expected to run their regular drivers but some may opt to run a reserve or a junior if needed.
Here’s Esteban Ocon testing for Mercedes