Lotus Formula 1 protege Esteban Ocon seals Prema Formula 3 seat
|By Marcus Simmons||Wednesday, January 8th 2014, 08:54 GMT|
Lotus Formula 1 Junior Esteban Ocon has been announced as part of Prema Powerteam's line-up for the 2014 Formula 3 European Championship.
The 17-year-old Frenchman has been widely tipped to join the Italian team all winter, after starring on his top-level F3 debut with the squad in the Macau Grand Prix.
Ocon, third in last year's Formula Renault Eurocup, showed top-six pace in Macau and finished the event in 10th place after stalling on the grid for the final.
His actual F3 debut came a few weeks earlier at Snetterton, where he drove an MSV F3 Cup car in order to qualify for Macau.
Prema team manager Rene Rosin said: "When we evaluated new, young drivers to add to our team for the 2014 season, we had no doubts on Ocon, as he has proved his talent throughout his developmental path.
"This impression was corroborated by the Macau weekend, when he progressively improved his pace and made it to the top 10 on one of the world's toughest street courses. I definitely think that Ocon will be a frontrunner in the European F3 series."
Ocon added: "I'm very happy and proud to have been chosen by Prema Powerteam for the 2014 campaign. After Macau and the winter tests, I feel ready to deliver and carry the Prema and Lotus F1 Junior Team colours to the top."
Ocon joins Dennis van de Laar on the 'confirmed' list so far in Prema's line-up.
Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Roberto Merhi won the last three European F3 crowns as Prema drivers.