Ocon to replace Haryanto at Manor (2nd Update)

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Reports that Esteban Ocon will replace Rio Haryanto at Manor were confirmed on Wednesday morning.

France's Auto Hebdo had reported that the 19-year-old, Mercedes-backed Frenchman would make his debut at Spa after the summer break and stay for the rest of the season, after Haryanto's Indonesian backing ran out.

Now confirmed, the news means that Manor's entire race lineup is comprised of Mercedes-backed juniors, with Ocon's teammate being Pascal Wehrlein.

"Manor is just the right environment for a young driver to get his first experience of F1: a professional, small team that is on a positive upward trend and where the driver can make a real difference," said Mercedes' Toto Wolff.

Mercedes announced separately that it has replaced Ocon in the German touring car series (DTM) with Felix Rosenqvist. Ocon was just 23rd overall in the standings.

He has been attending the grands prix in 2016 as Renault's reserve driver, and has been named as a potential candidate to drive for the French works team in 2017.

"Esteban will be up against a highly rated and quick teammate, which will enable us to evaluate him in a representative environment," Renault's Cyril Abiteboul said on Wednesday.

"I hope this experience will be of great benefit for him and for Renault in the near future."

08/10/16

Esteban Ocon is well funded
Esteban Ocon – has check, will drive

(GMM) Esteban Ocon appears set to emerge from the summer break as F1's newest teenage rookie.

Auto Hebdo, a French magazine, claims the Mercedes-backed 19-year-old has got the green light to replace Rio Haryanto at Manor, after the Indonesian's backing ran dry.

Indeed, AFP news agency reports this week that Indonesian officials recently received a letter from Manor demanding an overdue EUR 7 million to secure the seat for the Belgian grand prix and beyond.

"We understand Manor's concern but we hope Rio will not be replaced by another driver just because of funding issues," Indonesian sports ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said.

He indicated that securing the necessary EUR 7m was unlikely.

"We don't really see that happening. We can't promise anything."

Manor did not comment.

Auto Hebdo said Mercedes is poised to sign Ocon's deal with Manor, having already secured a replacement for the 19-year-old in the DTM series.

Ocon is currently on loan as Renault's reserve driver.

07/29/16 Esteban Ocon is in the running for a seat at Manor following Formula 1's summer break, Autosport is rumoring.

The Mercedes junior has been loaned out to Renault for this year to act as its F1 reserve, and Friday morning's session at Hockenheim was his fourth FP1 outing of the year.

There is now a possibility Ocon could be promoted into a full-time race seat with Manor for the final nine grands prix of the season.

The role is dependent on whether Rio Haryanto can fulfil his contract with the team and find the required funds necessary to ensure he sees out the season.

Haryanto signed for Manor at the beginning of the year, but with only enough investment behind him to carry him through to the conclusion of last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.

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