Renault tout 'fantastic' juniors for 2021 seat despite Alonso talk

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Renault has hinted at promoting one of their "fantastic" junior drivers for 2021, despite being urged to sign Fernando Alonso.

The French manufacturer has been left with an empty seat for next season after Daniel Ricciardo decided to leave after just two years to replace Carlos Sainz at McLaren.

Unsurprisingly, given his history at Renault, Alonso has been linked to making a Formula 1 return that most seemingly want to happen, and even Sky Sports' Ted Kravitz is fully onboard the hype train. 

“Cyril Abiteboul has a way of landing on his feet with drivers,” he told the British broadcaster's vodcast, alluding to Renault's team boss. “He always seems to get some decent drivers!

“And, certainly, if Alonso is available I think you should grab him with both hands, not let him go and pay him as much as they can and live with any of the consequences of him not being happy.

“If Alonso is up for it, it’s a no brainer – you’ve got to get him on board.”

Christian Lundgaard Formula 2

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However, former driver turned pundit Martin Brundle is a little less sure the Enstone-based squad could cope with the Spaniard.

“The Ricciardo-Ocon is a tremendous partnership and it’s a shame for Renault that that’s changing,” he said.

“Will they take on Alonso or Vettel, if he’s interested? Alonso’s pretty hot to handle as a driver, are Renault ready for that?

“Or if another Charles Leclerc-style kid turns up on the scene, will they take a risk on that? I think it depends on if Ocon demonstrates he can lead that team.”

Abiteboul has previously stated a wish to promote the team's first Academy product into one of their F1 cars as soon as possible and spoke highly of the two best-placed drivers to step up.

“We want to see what’s the pace of Guanyu Zhou, what’s the pace of Christian [Lundgaard], their competitiveness. They could be fantastic options,” the Renault boss said of the two F2 drivers.

“As we speak now, it’s a bit audacious to think that, but who knows? With one more season of F2 for them, it could be the right thing to do.

“And that’s typically the sort of thing that we could not decide when the decision had to accelerate with Daniel.”

Of the pair, Zhou is best-placed having already completed one year in F2, finishing seventh in the final standings, and believes he is ready to become F1's first Chinese driver.

“I do,” he said. “I think no one else has achieved such results.


“I made the Chinese national anthem play in European F3 before and now we have seen the Chinese national flag flying in F2. I really feel proud of it as it shows what Chinese people are capable of.

“I believe what really matters is that result speaks itself in any sport. As long as you have the result, people will know Chinese [drivers] could do well in motor racing.

“My goal is to finish this season in the top three – top four will be fine – as long as I could get the points I need for a superlicense,” he added

“Should any chance arise, I don’t want to miss it.”