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Renault Ocon swoop held up by Hulkenberg - French media

Renault Ocon swoop held up by Hulkenberg - French media

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Renault Ocon swoop held up by Hulkenberg - French media

Renault Ocon swoop held up by Hulkenberg - French media

Esteban Ocon is expected to secure a 2020 race seat with Renault, however French media has reported that a snag involving Nico Hulkenberg is holding up the deal.

AutoBild reported earlier this week that Mercedes had opted to retain faith with Valtteri Bottas alongside Lewis Hamilton for a fourth year.

That leaves Toto Wolff needing to find a seat for Ocon, who has been left on the sidelines in 2019 after his Racing Point seat was taken by Lance Stroll and a move to Renault was blocked by their blockbuster swoop for Daniel Ricciardo.

Wolff was understood to be furious at Renault counterpart Cyril Abiteboul breaking a "gentlemen's agreement" in reneging on signing Ocon.

However, it appears that trust has been restored between the manufacturers and Ocon is expected to team with Ricciardo in 2020.

RMC Sport says a deal is yet to be finalised, although negotiations are ongoing.

A key sticking point is Renault's desire to see Hulkenberg secure another Formula 1 drive before releasing him from his contract.

Hulkenberg joined Renault a year after their return to F1 as a works team and has helped lead the development of an outfit that is targeting a championship chase in 2021.

The German has been mentioned as a candidate to join Haas in Romain Grosjean's place if the American outfit lose patience with the Frenchman, while a seat at Williams could also be on offer if Robert Kubica does not remain in place.

RMC reports that taking Ocon effectively on loan from Mercedes is seen as beneficial at Renault as they look to balance the books a year on from reportedly making Ricciardo the third-highest paid driver in F1.

The report states: "The French manufacturer is very interested in the 'Tricolour' driver, who has the advantage of being fast, reliable and inexpensive. Indeed, with the very large salary paid to Daniel Ricciardo, Renault would not be against a reduction of its payroll.

"By taking Ocon instead of Hulkenberg, it would be done. When Renault returned to Formula 1, they had made the German driver a priority and therefore overpaid a little."

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