Ocon cannot replace Hamilton or Bottas at Mercedes in 2021 | RacingLines

Cyril Abiteboul, Esteban Ocon, Monza, 2019

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Esteban Ocon’s two-year deal to drive for Renault does not include an escape clause which would allow him to return to Mercedes in 2021.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirmed Ocon will be unable to return to the team in 2021 if Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas leave at the end of the 2020 F1 season, when their current contracts team expire.

“No there is no clause,” Wolff confirmed at Monza. “He is a full-fledged Renault works driver for the next two years and with certain options afterwards on both sides. No clause to come back in 2021.”

Ocon has worked in the team’s simulator this year. His responsibilities have included testing upgrades before they were applied to the car at the track.

Wolff said Ocon’s impending move to a rival team means his work on development parts will be curtailed.

“Esteban and I discussed a week ago how long he should stay in the various roles,” said Wolff. “I said ‘the longer you stay, the more information you’re taking with you’ and he said ‘well of course I’m going to take all this information with me’. So it’s a transition.

“He’s in our simulator and that is an important role in helping us to develop the car. But step by step Esteban is going to fade out of the meetings about the future, things that impact next year’s car or that are deemed to be sensitive from the engineering or innovation point of view.

“But he’s with us this season and does some very valuable work that we need in order to win the championship.”

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