Cape Town – Renault may not want to “encourage” rumours Fernando Alonso could return to the team with whom he won two world titles, but “could still reach” a deal with the Spaniard.
According to F1’s rumour mill, Renault have emerged as one of Alonso’s options for next season.
While it does seem as if a swap to IndyCar is more likely should he decide not to stay on at McLaren, there is speculation that he could yet return to Renault, albeit briefly.
The team, though, is not particularly interested in talking on a new driver for just one season.
Then again, that driver is Alonso.
Team boss Cyril Abiteboul told Marca: “I don’t want to encourage that rumour.
“I think Fernando first has to decide what he wants to do for himself, whether he wants to continue driving in F1 or not.
“We have a lot of respect for Fernando, but we are more interested in drivers who want to be with us in the long term.”
But, he added, “we could still reach an agreement with Alonso, but doing it for a year would not make sense.”
Abiteboul hinted that Renault will most likely to retain their current line-up of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz.
“We are not in a hurry and we also have to see what are the side effects of the (Red Bull) decision on the engine but we are improving and I think that is clear for everyone, for the press, for the fans and especially for the drivers.
“There is interest on the part of several drivers who want to race for us but in general the drivers we have work well and we would like to keep them.
“But I am also calm in the sense that, if we have a good car and progress as a team, we will have a selection of drivers who want to be with us.”