Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff has confirmed the plan to phase Esteban Ocon out of the team’s preparations for next year ahead of the Frenchman’s move to Renault for the 2020 season.

Ocon has been a member of Mercedes’ junior programme since 2015 and has served as the team’s reserve driver through 2019, but will leave the marque’s umbrella for next year after landing a full-time F1 seat with Renault.

Ocon will remain in his Mercedes role until the end of the year, but plans are afoot at Mercedes to phase him out of duties in the coming months to minimise the amount of information crossover to Renault for 2020, as confirmed by Wolff in Monza.

“Esteban and I discussed it a week ago, how long he should stay in the various roles,” Wolff said.

“I said ‘the longer you stay the more information you are taking with you’, and he said ‘of course I’m going to take all this information with me’. It’s a transition.

“He’s in our simulator. It’s an important role in helping us develop the car, but step by step, Esteban is going to fade out of meetings about the future, about things that are going to impact next year’s car, or that we deem to be sensitive from the engineering or innovation point of view.

“But he’s with us this season, and does some very valuable work that we need in order to win this championship.”

Ocon enjoyed his first taste of Mercedes’ W10 car during a Pirelli test at Paul Ricard this week, marking in his first official F1 running since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of 2018 when he last started a race for Racing Point.

 

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