Lotus Formula 1 protege Esteban Ocon gets Prema Macau Formula 3 seat

Lotus Formula 1 team protege Esteban Ocon is to step up to Formula 3 for next month's Macau Grand Prix

Lotus Formula 1 protege Esteban Ocon gets Prema Macau Formula 3 seat

Ocon - a race winner in the Formula Renault Eurocup, in which he lies third with one round remaining - will drive the fourth entry from Prema Powerteam.

The 17-year-old Frenchman tested one of Prema's Dallara-Mercedes at Imola last month, where independent onlookers reported that he was hugely impressive.

He is tipped to graduate to Prema's F3 European Championship line-up full-time for 2014.

Ocon has long been part of the Gravity management stable that is closely linked to the Lotus F1 team.

"I am very happy and proud to have the opportunity to do the Macau GP with Prema Powerteam," said Ocon. "It's a huge proof of trust from Lotus F1 Junior Team and Rene Rosin [Prema team manager].

"I will have a lot to learn during this week [in Macau], but as always I'll do my best to score the best possible result."

Ocon must contest an F3 race during the current calendar year in order to be eligible for Macau, so he will go up against Carlos Sainz Jr - who has similar requirements - in the MSV F3 Cup round at Snetterton at the end of this month.

He will therefore make his F3 race debut in a Dallara-Mercedes F305 usually campaigned by MSV series regular Gino Ussi, and which will be run by Lanan Racing.

Lanan ran Ocon's Macau Prema team-mate Alex Lynn in an F3 Cup round at Spa last year as a circuit-learning exercise ahead of the British F3 event, and Lynn put the parties in contact with each other for this deal.

DID YOU KNOW?

Esteban Ocon will become the first Frenchman to race in an FIA-rules F3 competition since the current-generation machines were introduced at the beginning of the 2012 season.

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