Ocon ‘on loan’ to Renault from Mercedes for 2016

© GP3 Series

Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul has revealed that reserve driver Esteban Ocon is being loaned to the French manufacturer by Mercedes for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Ocon previously enjoyed ties with Lotus F1 Team before it was taken over by Renault, taking part in practice for the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Frenchman joined Mercedes’ junior program on a provisional deal for 2015 before being signed up as a full member following his GP3 title success.

However, Ocon has now returned to Enstone, being announced as Renault Sport F1 Team’s new reserve driver for the 2016 season.

Speaking to reporters following the team’s launch in France earlier this week, Abiteboul confirmed that Ocon had been loaned to Renault for the season by Mercedes, but seemed open to making the deal permanent in the future.

“Esteban is great new addition for us for this year, and we are very excited to be taking part in his development,” Abiteboul said.

“For the time being he is on a loan basis, [like] it is happening in football. And then who knows?”

Ocon added: “Even in my new role as third driver for Renault, I remain a long term member of the Mercedes family, and I have to thank Mercedes and Renault for making this possible.

“There are some opportunities out there to race as well this season but nothing has been decided yet. It is an incredible opportunity to be guided and supported by Toto [Wolff] and Mercedes, and to have the honour of representing a brand like Renault in F1.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”