Ahead of the opening rounds of the 2015 GP3 Series in Barcelona, Mercedes-Benz has announced that the reigning FIA Formula 3 European champion Esteban Ocon will be supported by the brand during the new season.
Ocon is widely considered to be one of the foremost young talents in motorsport today. He secured last year's title against the strongest field in a generation, with Mercedes-Benz power propelling him to a total of nine wins and 21 podium finishes.
For 2015, he will compete in the GP3 Series on Formula 1 weekends with ART Grand Prix, a long-standing partner of Mercedes-Benz. In addition to his racing commitments, he will perform the role of official Test and Reserve Driver for the Mercedes AMG DTM team, bringing him valuable experience of technical development programmes that are not part of the junior single seater formulae.
As part of the package of Mercedes-Benz support, Ocon has signed a contractual option that could see him become a fully-fledged Mercedes-Benz driver in the future.
"Esteban is a mega-talented young guy and one of the stars of the future," said Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "I'm pleased we've found a good path to continue his relationship with Mercedes-Benz, because we have a strong tradition of supporting the best young drivers with a view to their long-term potential. We will be watching Esteban's progress with a lot of interest and I hope this year will be the first of many working together."
"I'm really proud to have the support of Mercedes-Benz this season," added Ocon, who has previously tested in F1 with Lotus, "and that the Mercedes AMG DTM team has trusted me with the important role of test and reserve driver. I spent last weekend with the DTM team in Hockenheim and hope that I can play a valuable role this year. But my main focus is on the opening races of the GP3 Series this weekend. I am proud to be racing with support from Mercedes-Benz and in a fantastic team like ART Grand Prix. I hope that I can compete for the title this year, starting with strong results in Barcelona."