Renault F1 reserve Esteban Ocon poised for 2016 Mercedes DTM seat

Renault Formula 1 reserve Esteban Ocon is to be confirmed as a Mercedes DTM driver on Thursday, Autosport understands

Renault F1 reserve Esteban Ocon poised for 2016 Mercedes DTM seat

The 19-year-old Frenchman will fill the vacancy within the Mercedes squad created by champion Pascal Wehrlein's move to F1 team Manor.

Last season Wehrlein combined his role as Mercedes reserve with a title-winning drive in the DTM, becoming the youngest champion in the series' history.

Having previously outlined his preference to race in the DTM over GP2, Ocon will follow in Wehrlein's footsteps having already been named as reserve in the new Renault works team to Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen.

Ocon has effectively been loaned out to Renault for the season, as last year's GP3 champion retains his role at Mercedes after it took up an option in his contract last November to make him a fully-fledged member of the F1 team.

As Mercedes' 2015 DTM reserve, Ocon made his debut in an official session during the Hockenheim finale, replacing an ill Daniel Juncadella for Friday practice.

The remainder of the Mercedes DTM line-up is expected to stay the same, with Ocon joined by Juncadella, Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett, Robert Wickens, Christian Vietoris, Maximilian Gotz and Lucas Auer.

Magnussen tested with the brand late last year, and was linked to a drive in the series before his F1 lifeline with Renault came together.

Auer, who finished 23rd in 2015 as a rookie, was believed to be the man whose drive was most in danger, if Mercedes elected to accommodate more than one of Wehrlein, Magnussen and Ocon this year.

Having won his GP3 title with ART Grand Prix - and team boss Frederic Vasseur now Renault's racing director - Ocon could even retain his links with the team through its DTM operation.

Paffett and Auer raced for ART in its first year in the DTM.

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