Four-time World Champion Alain Prost admits there is a real possibility Australian Formula 1 ace Daniel Ricciardo may leave Renault at the conclusion of the truncated 2020 season.
Prost, who plays a non-executive director role with Renault Sport, spoke with French Media yesterday to discuss the current contract situation with Ricciardo.
He also addressed claims that the 30-year-old has been eyeing up a return to Red Bull, the team which he unceremoniously left after a disappointing 2018 campaign.
“Daniel has a contract until the end of 2020, so he is free,” Prost said. “We don’t have the cards in our hands. We don’t have an option. Of course we have started to discuss, which is normal.
“Max Verstappen is completely anchored at Red Bull, so I don’t see Daniel going there.
“But with us things are very open, and in any case, what is certain is that in a certain way Daniel wants to continue.
“Let’s imagine that everything is back to normal in 2021, then we can do the shopping we want until the end of the year.
“He made – not a bet – but let’s say a plan to be successful with Renault and for the moment we are talking in a very positive way.”
Prost emphasised his aim for 2021 is to retain current driver pairing of Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon rather than look to promote a younger driver as the Formula 2/3 seasons remain in an uncertain phase of hiatus.
Though should Ricciardo in fact leave the team, the French marque could turn to 18-year-old Danish driver Christian Lungaard who finished sixth with ART in last year’s Formula 2 season with a sole race win at the Hungaroring.
“We don’t even know what’s going to happen for Formula 2 or Formula 3 or Formula Renault, where there are a lot of drivers in the sector and they can’t drive,” Prost added.
“So if they don’t race, then you can’t see them – you can’t judge them.
“It is valid for everyone and so the trend in the teams is a little more on the side of status quo.”