Mercedes to release Esteban Ocon early for Renault Abu Dhabi test

Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon

Mercedes and Renault have reached an agreement over the start date of Esteban Ocon at his new team, freeing the youngster to take part in testing following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

It was announced in August that long-term Mercedes protégé Ocon will return to the Formula 1 grid in 2020 after signing a two-year deal with Renault.

Ocon started 50 grands prix for Manor and Force India across 2016 to 2018 but was left without a seat for 2019, and instead took up the role of Mercedes’ reserve driver.

Ocon has undertaken extensive hours in Mercedes’ simulator this year, attended engineering briefings, and has received some track time in the W10 during Pirelli tyre testing.

Ocon had hoped to link up with his new team before the start of 2020 and on Wednesday it was confirmed that he will officially begin at Renault on December 2.

It means Ocon has been cleared to drive Renault’s R.S.19 during the post-race tyre test at the Yas Marina Circuit, which will take place on December 3/4.

Renault says that Ocon will drive on both days of the test.

It will mark the start of Ocon's third stint at the team, having been part of its test roster under its Lotus guise in 2014, and again in the opening half of 2016, when he held the role of reserve driver.

Teams and drivers will spend the test evaluating the 2020-specification Pirelli tyres, having had a brief chance to assess the compounds during a cold Friday practice day in the United States earlier this month.