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Ocon would be ‘very happy’ to have Alonso as Renault team mate in 2021

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With Daniel Ricciardo set to leave Renault for McLaren at the end of the season, the seat next to Esteban Ocon is empty for 2021 and speculation has raged over who will fill it. So, who would Ocon prefer: an established champion like Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel, or a rising star?

Vettel is set to leave Ferrari at the end of the year and has thus far not announced his next move, while two-time champ Alonso, who picked up both of his titles with Renault in ’05 and ’06, is also available, having last driven in F1 for McLaren in 2018.

READ MORE: Alonso? Vettel? Who is really on Renault's driver shopping list for 2021?

The French driver replied: “I got asked that question many times of course during this lockdown period but I always respond honestly, and my personal choice has no relation to what the team is going to do, but I have a great relationship with Fernando.

“The helmet I have, and the only swap I did in between the drivers was with him. He was the one with Michael [Schumacher], you know, his fights back in the days, and that gave me the love for the sport. I don’t know if he’s going to join or not with us but definitely, if he could come back, I would be very happy.”

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As for Ricciardo, who was team mates with Vettel at Red Bull for a season in 2014, he also said he would prefer Alonso’s company as a team mate.

“Oh… I would only say Alonso just because it’s something I’ve yet to experience, and I think team mates are great benchmarks and also great additions to your skillset,” explained Ricciardo.

READ MORE: 5 headline-grabbing rivalries set to dominate the 2020 season

“You can always learn something. I don’t believe there’s any driver in this sport that’s been perfect yet so there’s always an improvement to make. For that, I’d say Fernando, but... I only had 12 months with Seb, that went pretty quickly, so I wouldn’t be opposed to that again.”

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