Renault reserve driver Esteban Ocon will replace Rio Haryanto at Manor racing for the rest of the 2016 season as Haryanto failed to find funding to secure his seat.

Ocon, who won the 2015 GP3 championship, is part of the Mercedes young driver program and will now line up against fellow Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein.

“I’m thrilled that I’ll be making my Grand Prix debut with Manor Racing later this month, and at Spa, of all circuits, which is the next best thing to my home race,” Ocon said.

“I’m ready for this exciting step up, thanks to the experience I’ve gained as a Formula 1 Reserve Driver this season. I’d like to thank Renault Sport F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz for working together to make this happen, and to Manor Racing for the opportunity, which I’m going to grab with both hands.

“I’ve visited the Manor Technical Centre already, for my seat fit and to meet with the wider team, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running after the summer break. They’ve done a great job this season and I’m excited that I’ve been tasked with helping them to build on that progress. I can’t wait to get started!”

The teenager has already made a number of appearances in Formula 1 machinery completing multiple practice sessions with Renault during the first half of the season, which will assist Manor in defending 10th position from Sauber in the Constructors’ championship.

“We are very pleased to welcome Esteban to Manor Racing for the remainder of the season,” Manor’s racing director Dave Ryan said.

“He is clearly one of the rising stars of F1, shining in his Reserve Driver role with Renault, while also competing in the DTM with Mercedes-AMG this year.

“Our team has made significant strides in 2016, including finishing in the points for the first time in Austria last month. We need to maintain our pace of development in order to achieve our ambitions, not only for this season but also for the longer-term, so the calibre of a replacement is key.

We’re confident that when Esteban makes his Grand Prix debut in Spa, we will have a very potent line-up with which to take the fight to our immediate competitors for the rest of the season.”

Haryanto has elected to stay with the team as the official reserve driver, and will be able to deputise for either driver should they not be able to take part in a race event.

Image via Manor Racing Team

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Josh Kruse

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