La conferma è appena arrivata: Esteban Ocon sostituirà Rio Haryanto alla Manor. Auto Hebdo aveva anticipato che il 19enne supportato dalla Mercedes avrebbe fatto il suo debutto a Spa dopo il break estivo e sarebbe rimato per il resto della stagione, dopo che i fondi di Haryanto sono terminati. Ora è tutto confermato, come potere leggere nel comunicato stampa del team a fine articolo, per cui entrambi i piloti Manor, Ocon e Pascal Wehrlein, sono “junior Mercedes”.
“La Manor è l’ambiente adatto dove un giovane pilota può fare la sua prima esperienza in F1: un team piccolo, professionale in un tren positivo e dove il pilota può davvero fare la differenza”, ha detto il boss Mercedes Toto Wolff.
La Casa tedesca ha annunciato separatamente di aver sostituito Ocon (che era solo 23° in classifica) nel DTM con Felix Rosenqvist. Nel 2016 Ocon si è avvicinato alla F1 come pilota di riserva Renault ed è già stato indicato come uno dei probabili candidati per un sedile ufficiale con il team francese nel 2017.
“Esteban dovrà confrontarsi con un compagno di squadra veloce e molto stimato, il che ci permetterà di valutarlo in un ambiente rappresentativo”, ha detto il boss Renault Cyril Abiteboul. “Spero che questa esperienza sia di grande aiuto per lui e per Renault nel futuro imminente”.
Una sola considerazione: comunicato ufficiale da parte di tre team e nessuno ha una parola per Rio Haryanto, il pilota appena fatto fuori per mancanza di soldi. Neppure un “grazie” di circostanza o il coraggio di dire “abbiamo avuto un’offerta migliore”. La classe non è acqua…
MANOR RACING SIGNS ESTEBAN OCON
The 19 year old Frenchman will race alongside Pascal Wehrlein for the rest of the 2016 season
10 August 2016, 09.30 BST (CET -1)
Manor Racing has signed Esteban Ocon to race alongside Pascal Wehrlein for the remaining nine rounds of the 2016 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. He will make his Formula 1 racing debut in the Belgian Grand Prix on 28 August.
Mercedes junior, Esteban, has been Reserve Driver for the Renault Sport F1 Team alongside his 2016 DTM championship drive with Mercedes-AMG. Prior to that, he won championships in FIA F3, in 2014, and in GP3 Series, in 2015.
Dave Ryan, Racing Director, Manor Racing “We are very pleased to welcome Esteban to Manor Racing for the remainder of the season. He is clearly one of the rising stars of F1, shining in his Reserve Driver role with Renault, while also competing in the DTM with Mercedes-AMG this year. Our team has made significant strides in 2016, including finishing in the points for the first time in Austria last month. We need to maintain our pace of development in order to achieve our ambitions, not only for this season but also for the longer-term, so the calibre of a replacement is key. We’re confident that when Esteban makes his Grand Prix debut in Spa, we will have a very potent line-up with which to take the fight to our immediate competitors for the rest of the season.”
Esteban Ocon “I’m thrilled that I’ll be making my Grand Prix debut with Manor Racing later this month, and at Spa, of all circuits, which is the next best thing to my home race. I’m ready for this exciting step up, thanks to the experience I’ve gained as a Formula 1 Reserve Driver this season. I’d like to thank Renault Sport F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz for working together to make this happen, and to Manor Racing for the opportunity, which I’m going to grab with both hands. I’ve visited the Manor Technical Centre already, for my seat fit and to meet with the wider team, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running after the summer break. They’ve done a great job this season and I’m excited that I’ve been tasked with helping them to build on that progress. I can’t wait to get started!”
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport F1 Team “Esteban joining Manor Racing for the last nine races of the season demonstrates the excellent relationship the two teams, Renault Sport Formula One Team and Mercedes-Benz, have maintained for several years. It is an outstanding opportunity for Esteban to gather mileage and race experience in a young, stable and very professional team. 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.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport “We are very pleased that this opportunity has opened up for Esteban, that Manor has again had the confidence to give a chance to a promising young talent and that the good collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Renault has allowed this to come together. We have seen this year that, in the right circumstances, the Manor Racing car is capable of points. Manor is just the right environment for a young driver to get his first experience of F1: a professional, small team that is on a positive upward trend and where the driver can make a real difference. 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.”