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.”