Max Verstappen’s nemesis Esteban Ocon will be a reserve driver for Mercedes in 2019 after losing his seat at Force India to Lance Stroll
- Esteban Ocon won’t have a race seat in 2019, but will be a reserve for Mercedes
- He will be losing his Force India seat to Lance Stroll, whose father owns the team
- He’ll be acting as the understudy to Bottas and world champion Lewis Hamilton
Esteban Ocon has been confirmed as Mercedes reserve driver for next season.
The Frenchman, 22, will be without a race seat in 2019, with Lance Stroll to replace him at Force India after his fashion billionaire father, Lawrence, bought the team.
Ocon is a member of Mercedes’ junior programme, and will hope his season as an understudy to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will help him return to the grid in 2020.
Esteban Ocon won’t have a race seat for 2019, but will be a reserve driver for Mercedes
Ocon will be losing his Force India spot to Lance Stroll, whose father now owns the F1 team
Bottas, who heads into the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi on Sunday without a win, is out of contract with the Silver Arrows at the end of next season.
‘We hope to do the odd test with Esteban next year,’ Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said on Friday.
‘He will spend a lot of time in the simulator and be ready for 2020.’
Ocon courted controversy at the last race in Brazil after he collided with leader Max Verstappen. Verstappen responded by shoving Ocon in the chest three times.
Esteban Ocon faced controversy in Brazil after colliding with race leader Max Verstappen
Tensions flared on the weighbridge as Max Verstappen (right) confronted Esteban Ocon
Verstappen was furious with Ocon and shoved him in the chest three times after the race