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Mercedes will 'fade out' Ocon ahead of Renault move

Mercedes will 'fade out' Ocon ahead of Renault move

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Mercedes will 'fade out' Ocon ahead of Renault move

Mercedes will 'fade out' Ocon ahead of Renault move

Esteban Ocon will be "faded out" of duties with Mercedes, says team principal Toto Wolff, as he nears a 2020 switch to Renault.

Ocon will fledge the nest at Mercedes next year, cutting ties with the Silver Arrows after four years I the team's driver programme to sign a two-year deal with Renault.

Having dropped off the F1 grid this year as seats at Racing Point and Renault vanished from underneath him, Ocon has spent this year as Mercedes' reserve and development driver.

Part of his role has included logging many hours in the simulator around races to tweak and perfect set-up for Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff says Ocon will remain pivotal to the Silver Arrows' title hopes, but his presence in debriefs and other meetings will be managed, to avoid the team's secrets being taken to Enstone with hi next year.

He said: "Esteban and I discussed a week ago how long he should stay in the various roles. I said 'the longer you stay, the more information you're taking with you' and he said 'well of course I'm going to take all this information with me'. So it's a transition.

"He's in our simulator and that is an important role in helping us to develop the car.

"But step by step Esteban is going to fade out of the meetings about the future, things that impact next year's car or that are deemed to be sensitive from the engineering or innovation point of view.

"But he's with us this season and does some very valuable work that we need in order to win the championship."

Wolff also confirmed that Mercedes will have no option to recall Ocon for the 2021 season, with Valtteri Bottas once again having to prove himself on a one-year deal.

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