Ocon to Renault? Wolff challenges Abiteboul to be a gentleman
Toto Wolff says Cyril Abiteboul must "restore his gentleman image" amid suggestions that Esteban Ocon will find a seat with Renault in 2020. Wolff had agreed for Mercedes junior Ocon to join Renault this year, but Abiteboul reneged on the agreement when the chance to sign Daniel Ricciardo arose.
Ocon was left without a race seat for 2019, with Lance Stroll filling the seat he had occupied at Racing Point in its former guise as Force India.
The Frenchman has served as the Silver Arrows reserve driver this year, but recently revealed that talks over a return to the grid in 2020 had begun.
It has been reported that a move to Renault is once again on the cards, with Nico Hulkenberg's contract expiring at the end of the year.
Abiteboul recently revealed that Renault hold an extension option in Hulkenberg's deal, but said the team's options remain open.
Asked if Ocon could be one of those options, Wolff seemed to lay down a challenge to Abiteboul to make up for last year's about-turn.
"I like Cyril but in order to become a gentleman with the handshake, he needs to restore his gentleman image," Wolff said. "We are looking at all options.
"Esteban is a hot topic because he's clearly one of the most promising young drivers and he deserves to be in Formula 1, and we can see that with the interest that he generates.
"I am very optimistic that we will see him in a Formula 1 car next year."
Ricciardo's Renault contract runs until 2020, while Ocon could also be a contender at Mercedes, if Valtteri Bottas cannot convince the team to extend his deal beyond the end of the year.
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