Esteban Ocon says he wants Fernando Alonso to become his Renault teammate in 2021 when Daniel Ricciardo moves to McLaren.
Ricciardo will leave Renault at the end of this season to replace Carlos Sainz, who was chosen by Ferrari when the Scuderia dropped Sebastian Vettel. At this stage, Renault has yet to announce who will partner Ocon next season and insists it is not in a rush to make a decision, but the Frenchman is clear who he would like to race alongside.
“I got asked many times during the lockdown,” Ocon (pictured above) said. “I always respond honestly and my personal choice has no relation to what the team is going to do. I have a great relationship with Fernando — the helmet I have and the only swap with the drivers was him. He was the one with Michael (Schumacher) back in the day that gave me the love (for Formula 1). “I don’t know if he’s going to join with us or not but definitely if he comes back with me I’d be happy.”
Vettel is also available for 2021 and has said he wants to remain in F1, but Ricciardo says he’d also pick Alonso — who is set to race for McLaren in the Indy 500 again this year — out of the two because he has partnered Vettel in the past.
“I would only say Alonso just because it’s something I’ve yet to experience,” Ricciardo said. “And I think teammates are great benchmarks and also great additions to your skillset — you always learn something. I don’t believe any driver in this sport has been perfect yet, (there’s) always improvements to make. So I’d say Fernando, but I also had only 12 months with Seb and that went pretty quickly.”
Although Renault reiterated its commitment to F1 at the same time that McLaren faced financial issues, Ricciardo says he has no regrets about the decision he has made to switch teams.
“I don’t have any second thoughts. I put a lot of thought into things, let’s say that.
“I’ve been asked quite a few questions already on the switch but until I’m there, I don’t really want to go into if I’m happy, if I feel great. I understand: I made the decision before I even raced so, sure, I’ll get asked about it but now we’re here (in Austria), driving the car in 24 hours, I want to keep focused on Renault for the remainder of this year.”