Esteban Ocon is set to receive support from reigning Formula 1 champions Mercedes, giving him the option of a racing contract in the future with the German manufacturer.

The 2014 FIA European Formula 3 champion has graduated into the GP3 series and is set to make his debut in the championship this weekend in Barcelona for ART Grand Prix, a long-term partner with Mercedes.

Ocon acted as Lotus F1's test driver last season, taking part in the free practice one session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last November.

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The French driver will gain support from Mercedes for the season and is set to also act as official test and reserve driver for the Mercedes AMG DTM squad. In addition, the 18-year-old has signed a contractual option to potentially become a full Mercedes factory driver in the future.

"I'm really proud to have the support of Mercedes-Benz this season and that the Mercedes AMG DTM team has trusted me with the important role of test and reserve driver," Ocon said. "I spent last weekend with the DTM team in Hockenheim and hope that I can play a valuable role this year.

"My main focus is on the opening races of the GP3 Series this weekend. I am proud to be racing with support from Mercedes-Benz and in a fantastic team like ART Grand Prix. I hope that I can compete for the title this year, starting with strong results in Barcelona."

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff says he has been seriously impressed by the Frenchman after he stormed to the Euro F3 title last year, beating Toro Rosso F1 driver Max Verstappen in the process.

"Esteban is a mega-talented young guy and one of the stars of the future," Wolff said. "I'm pleased we've found a good path to continue his relationship with Mercedes-Benz, because we have a strong tradition of supporting the best young drivers with a view to their long-term potential.

"We will be watching Esteban's progress with a lot of interest and I hope this year will be the first of many working together."