The Manor F1 Team has just announced a driver change halfway through the 2016 F1 season. Renault F1 Team's reserve driver, Esteban Ocon (pictured above), will be taking over Rio Haryanto as main driver for Manor. Haryanto meanwhile will serve as the team's reserve driver.
Before becoming Renault F1 Team's reserve driver, Ocon bagged the 2014 European Formula 3 and 2015 GP3 championships. He will be making his debut at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix and will be racing for Manor in the remaining nine races of the season.
"We are very pleased to welcome Esteban to Manor Racing for the remainder of the season. Our team has made significant strides in 2016, including finishing in the points for the first time in Austria last month. We need to maintain our pace of development in order to achieve our ambitions, not only for this season but also for the longer-term, so the calibre of a replacement is key,” said Dave Ryan, director of Manor Formula One.
Ryan adds, "We’re confident that when Esteban makes his Grand Prix debut in Spa, we will have a very potent line-up with which to take the fight to our immediate competitors for the rest of the season.”
Ocon also has other commitments apart from Formula 1 as he also races in DTM for Mercedes-Benz. Ocon will be able to fullfil both roles as DTM races do not interfere with the Formula 1 schedule. Ocon had mentioned that he would want to fully focus on Formula 1 if he gets his chance as a full-time driver. Before this announcement, Ocon was a candidate for the Renault F1 team for the next season.
"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," said Ocon.