Hulkenberg teases "exciting" Belgian GP Thursday amid Ocon rumours

Nico Hulkenberg has teased a "more exciting Thursday" at the Belgian Grand Prix, amid reports Esteban Ocon will take his Renault Formula 1 seat and Mercedes will retain Valtteri Bottas

Hulkenberg teases "exciting" Belgian GP Thursday amid Ocon rumours

Hulkenberg's deal with the Renault works team expires at the end of 2019 and reports in Germany and France have suggested he will be replaced by Ocon next year.

Ocon was in the running for the second Mercedes seat alongside Lewis Hamilton for 2020, but were Mercedes to choose Bottas then Ocon would be free to strike a deal with another team.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he would use the summer break to choose between Hamilton's existing team-mate Bottas and reserve driver Ocon.

While no announcement has been made ahead of this weekend's Belgian GP, Ocon has been increasingly linked with a move to Renault and Haas has also been tipped as a potential destination.

On Tuesday, Hulkenberg responded to the front cover of the latest issue of French publication Auto Hebdo, which declares Ocon's move to Renault is a done deal and includes a mock picture of Ocon in a Renault race suit.

"Finally a more exciting Thursday ahead," Hulkenberg wrote on his Instagram story in a caption that accompanied a picture of the Ocon/Renault magazine cover.

When approached by Autosport, a Renault spokesperson said the team had no comment to make on the French story "or rumours otherwise".

Mercedes has given no indication regarding the outcome of its driver deliberations.

Ocon was due to join Renault for 2019 but was snubbed when the team made the shock move to sign Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull instead.

However, 12 months later, he has the opportunity to join Ricciardo at the French works team - where he was a test driver in 2016.

Hulkenberg has been key to Renault finishing sixth and fourth in the constructors' championship in the seasons he has raced for the team.

But he has struggled to match Ricciardo this season, has been outscored 22-17 in the points and been critical of Renault's lack of progress.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul made it clear at the French Grand Prix it was looking at alternative options.

He indicated it would likely enter discussions "after the summer break", but the timing would have been influenced by Ocon's role in Mercedes' deliberations.

Hulkenberg and Bottas are both due to speak on Thursday at Spa as part of the usual pre-race media arrangements.

shares
comments
Minor injury left McLaren F1 team's Norris wearing supportive boot
Previous article

Minor injury left McLaren F1 team's Norris wearing supportive boot

Next article

Mercedes worked through summer break for Formula 1 engine gains

Mercedes worked through summer break for Formula 1 engine gains
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Plus

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022