Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says Esteban Ocon’s arrival at Enstone has “revitalised” the entire Formula 1 team ahead of the 2020 season.

Ocon returns to the F1 grid in 2020 following a year’s absence to complete Renault’s revised driver line-up alongside Daniel Ricciardo, replacing Nico Hulkenberg who departed the team at the end of last season.

Renault is looking to improve this season after a disappointing 2019 campaign in which it slipped to fifth place in the constructors’ championship and behind customer team McLaren.

“This coming season is revitalised by the arrival of Esteban, who brings with him fresh energy,” Abiteboul explained.

“Both he and Daniel are both exceptionally motivated. Esteban returns to a seat after a year out and wants to show he deserves to race in F1. You can see the hunger in his eyes.

“Daniel has a year of experience with the team and can see its motivation. We need this kind of push.

"F1 needs everyone at the top of their game and having two drivers spurring everyone on is an immense motivation tool for the entire team and a source of pride for the whole of Groupe Renault.”

Ocon, who started out as a Renault junior before switching to the Mercedes F1 programme, said he cannot wait to get back racing in 2020 after spending 2019 in a development and simulator role with Mercedes.

“It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to test the new car in Barcelona,” Ocon said. "We’ve had a lot of time to prepare, and I’m feeling ready for the challenge.

“It was beneficial having the Abu Dhabi test in December as it meant I could get used to everyone as well as experiencing last year’s Renault F1 Team car, which is the starting point for the 2020 car.

“I’m really looking forward to racing again – back where I want to be – after waiting for a year. I already know some of the team, but it’s changed a lot since when I left in 2016.

“In Formula 1, things evolve quickly and everything at Renault has grown a lot. I think it will help me settle down quickly and be ready for the first race.

“I was lucky to be in Formula 1 at 19 years old and have already completed a lot of races,” he added.

“You can always learn new things and the more you work with different teams, the more mature you become as a driver. Each race, each season, there are always things to learn.

“I want to keep getting better and better and I’m sure the team and Daniel will contribute a lot to that.”

 

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