Guest of RMC, the French-Monégasque radio station on Saturday, Cyril Abiteboul – head of the Renault team in Formula 1 – is not closing the door on the return of Fernando Alonso to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
But the French carmaker wants to take its time in choosing the next Esteban Ocon’s team-mate.
A third appearance for Fernando Alonso at Renault is not impossible and the rumour has not been ruled out by Cyril Abiteboul, head of the French Formula 1 team who was invited on Saturday evening by RMC Par ici la sortie.
“It could be a lot of drivers. There are some nice drivers who will be available next year. The one you mentioned is an option. There are others,”
The recruitment of Esteban Ocon’s next team-mate, a French recruit for the 2020 season, will not be a short-term strategy. Cyril Abiteboul explained that the lucky man would “probably” be hired for a project lasting “several years”.
A disadvantage for Fernando Alonso, aged 38?
The two-time Spanish world champion, who won his 2005 and 2006 titles with Renault before making a second stint there from 2008 to 2009, has been retired from the world of F1 since the end of his unsuccessful collaboration with McLaren in 2018.
“The only thing I can say for sure is that we’re going to take the time to think about it. It’s an extremely important decision.
“We didn’t want to get into the kind of activism that there has been from Ferrari and McLaren, for reasons that are theirs,” said Cyril Abiteboul, referring to the turmoil caused in mid-May by the announcement that Sebastian Vettel had been replaced by Carlos Sainz Jr. in the Italian team.
— RFI English (@RFI_En) May 30, 2020
“Quite frankly, deciding on a driver when the season hasn’t even started… We thought it was a bit strange,” he said, a little more than a month before the expected start of the 2020 season in Austria.
“This choice of driver is the last piece of the puzzle in our reconstruction,” added Cyril Abiteboul, defending the brand’s intention to remain in F1.
“There is a huge importance of taking our time and making the right choice”.
In the last couple of days, a vast economic restructuring plan by Renault, accompanied by the loss of 15,000 jobs has been announced by the management.
UPDATE: Daimler & Mercedes don’t deny the rumour
Yesterday, TJ13 were one of the first websites to report on a huge story emerging from Germany, started by F1 Insider and Autobild veteran journalist Ralph Bach – Mercedes AMG F1 team boss Toto Wolff would step down and Mercedes would likely cease to be a works team, potentially becoming Aston Martin Racing.
According to Ralph Bach…… READ MORE ON THIS STORY