Hulkenberg‘s deal with the works team expires at the end of 2019 and reports in Germany and France have suggested he will be replaced by Ocon next year.

Ocon was in the running for the second seat alongside Lewis Hamilton for 2020, but were to choose Bottas then Ocon would be free to strike a deal with another team.

team principal said he would use the summer break to choose between Hamilton’s existing teammate Bottas and reserve driver Ocon.

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While no announcement has been made ahead of this weekend’s Belgian GP, Ocon has been increasingly linked with a move to and has also been tipped as a potential destination.

On Tuesday, Hulkenberg responded to the front cover of the latest issue of French publication Auto Hebdo, which declares Ocon’s move to is a done deal and includes a mock picture of Ocon in a race suit.

“Finally a more exciting Thursday ahead,” Hulkenberg wrote on his Instagram story in a caption that accompanied a picture of the Ocon/ magazine cover.

When approached by, a spokesperson said the team had no comment to make on the French story “or rumours otherwise”.

has given no indication regarding the outcome of its driver deliberations.

Ocon was due to join for 2019 but was snubbed when the team made the shock move to sign Daniel Ricciardo from instead.

However, 12 months later, he has the opportunity to join at the French works team.

Hulkenberg has been key to finishing sixth and fourth in the constructors’ championship in the seasons he has raced for the team.

But he has struggled to match this season, has been outscored 22-17 in the points and been critical of ’s lack of progress.

boss made it clear at the it was looking at alternative options.

He indicated it would likely enter discussions “after the summer break”, but the timing would have been iuenced by Ocon’s role in ’ deliberations.

Hulkenberg and Bottas are both due to speak on Thursday at Spa as part of the usual pre-race media arrangements.


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