Esteban Ocon will make his F1 race debut at the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix after he was announced as the replacement for Rio Haryanto in the Manor Racing team.
The 19 year-old has been a familiar figure in the F1 paddock this season through his role as Renault reserve driver, which has seen him participate in four FP1 sessions, as well as test outings with the Mercedes team that otherwise manages his career.
Indeed, the highly-rated Frenchman – a GP3 champion in 2015 - had been tipped for a move into F1 next year, potentially with Renault, but Manor will give him an earlier-than-planned debut following the news that erstwhile race driver Rio Haryanto has not met financial obligations to see out the year.
“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!”
Ocon's much anticipated debut will come at the Belgian Grand Prix later this month at Spa-Francorchamps and will see him paired with fellow Mercedes backed youngster Wehrlein.