Last year, the now 18-year old Frenchman Esteban Ocon won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and prevailed against the likes of today’s Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen and the two new DTM works drivers Tom Blomqvist and Lucas Auer. Mercedes-Benz realised Ocon’s talent and opted for supporting him even more intensely, on his future way up the motor-racing ladder.
“Esteban is a mega-talented young guy and one of the future stars,” said Toto Wolf, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Therefore, I’m particularly happy that we now found a good way for continuing his relationship with Mercedes-Benz.” The new cooperation includes – first of all – the position as official test and reserve driver of the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team. This deal is supposed to offer Ocon the chance of gathering further experiences in addition to him racing in the GP3 Series this season.
The deal between Ocon and Mercedes-Benz comprises – inter alia – the option that Ocon could become a fully-fledged Mercedes-Benz driver, in the future. “We will be watching Esteban’s progress with a lot of interest and I hope this is just the beginning of a long-term partnership,” added Wolff. Ocon, who secured the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Mercedes-Benz power, is delighted. “I’m really proud of being supported by Mercedes-Benz and having been entrusted the DTM test and reserve driver position. I hope that I will be able to make a valuable contribution to their success, this year.”
Ocon is the fourth of last year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers who made it to professional motor racing right away. Max Verstappen, third in the 2014 Championship, secured a Formula 1 race seat at the Scuderia Toro Rosso and is contesting his first season at the pinnacle of motor racing. While FIA Formula 3 European Vice-Champion Tom Blomqvist and Lucas Auer, who finished fourth in the championship, made their DTM debuts, last weekend at Hockenheim. New BMW works driver Blomqvist now races a BMW M4 DTM while Auer was signed as Mercedes-Benz works driver and contests the 2015 DTM season at the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM.