Feb.4 (GMM/Inautonews.com) A surprise face at the Renault launch on Wednesday belonged to Carmen Jorda.

Last year, the Spaniard and former GP3 driver was the female development driver at Lotus, which has been taken over by Renault for 2016.

But Jorda told Spain’s Europa Press that she will have the “same role” this year too.

“The good thing is that Renault is going to put me in a category to race, which is what I want,” she said.

And she told the Spanish daily AS: “I am still with the team and I’m very happy, because it is a major project for the long term.”

Jorda also said she has “no problem” with the signing by Renault of Esteban Ocon, a 19-year-old Frenchman who is leaping straight into the reserve role.

Ocon was re-signed to Mercedes’ driver development programme late last year, but declared on Wednesday that he is “overjoyed that I can help a French team as a Frenchman”.

“It’s true, I signed a long-term contract with Mercedes at the end of 2015 so I am very grateful to Mercedes and to Renault in making this possible.”

Ocon won the GP3 series last year for ART, the team co-run by Frederic Vasseur, who has now become the ‘racing director’ at Renault.

Vasseur told L’Equipe: “Esteban is still under contract to Mercedes, but I have an excellent relationship with Mercedes and it might have put a little oil to the wheels.”

His other championship-winning driver in 2015 was Stoffel Vandoorne, who won the GP2 title for ART, but Vasseur said the Belgian was never in the running to join Renault.

“With Stoffel, the situation is very clear,” he said. “He is under contract to McLaren and I really think he will go there next year.

“McLaren is aware of his results and his ability, so I cannot imagine for a split second that McLaren will let him go.”