Ocon 'more complete' ahead of 2020 F1 return but at Renault or Mercedes?

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Esteban Ocon is confident he'll return to Formula 1 a "more complete" driver in 2020 but uncertainty continues over which team it will be for.

In recent days, a move to Renault has appeared increasingly likely, with the understanding being that Mercedes has opted to continue with Valtteri Bottas next season.

However, that has hit a snag according to France's RMC Sport as the French manufacturer look to secure a 2020 seat for Nico Hulkenberg, the driver Ocon would replace.

Haas was thought to be the most likely option, replacing Romain Grosjean, but talks are continuing and failure may see Mercedes boss Toto Wolff have to change his mind.

As the report states, however: "Renault is very interested in the 'Tricolour' driver [Ocon], who has the advantage of being fast, reliable and inexpensive. Indeed, with the very large salary paid to Daniel Ricciardo, Renault would not be against a reduction of its payroll.

"By taking Ocon instead of Hulkenberg, it would be done. When Renault returned to Formula 1, they had made the German driver a priority and therefore overpaid a little."

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Another French outlet, L'Equipe, has a more certain take, however, claiming Bottas will be confirmed at Mercedes next week at Spa, with Ocon loaned out to Renault in 2020.

And a small hint that possibly something has happened behind the scenes came on Thursday when Ocon changed his Instagram profile from 'Mercedes Test Driver' to simply 'Formula 1 driver'.

Regardless of where he does race next season, the 22-year-old is confident that he'll come back better than he was after leaving Racing Point thanks to his year as reserve.

"I'm working hard on next year. I'm also learning so much at Mercedes. When I come back, I'll be a much more complete driver," he told Formula1.com.

"It was not an easy thing [to be on the sidelines]. We talked with Toto and my management side in Mercedes and they told me not to worry, I would be having a chance in F1 in the future.

"Of course there were phases where it is a bit quiet so you doubt things a bit, but discussions started quite some time ago – so I'm pretty confident it's going to be OK, fingers crossed and touching wood!"

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