Fernando Alonso has reportedly begun talks to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Renault with Liberty Media ‘happy to pay a part’ of the Spaniard’s wages.
Formula 1’s 2021 driver market went into a spin this week with confirmation that Sebastian Vettel was on his way out at Ferrari, 2020 set to be his final year.
48 hours later Carlos Sainz was announced as his replacement while, instead of announcing Vettel as a straight swap, McLaren confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo would be taking Sainz’s seat.
That leaves Renault one driver short for the 2021 season.
Immediately the rumour mill suggested Alonso as a replacement and, according to Marca, it may just get its wish.
The Spaniard publication understands that ‘Alonso is in talks to become a driver for Renault’.
It added that ‘Renault need a big name to keep their ambitious project afloat and they believe Alonso represents their best option going forward’.
There is, however, one sticking point – his wages.
Alonso was bringing in $30m per season in his final year with McLaren, a hefty increase on the $17m that Renault paid Ricciardo.
‘The major stumbling block for Renault in their pursuit of Alonso will be his salary,’ says Marca, ‘but there could be a solution.
‘Liberty Media are happy to pay a good part of Alonso’s high wages and an agreement could be reached before the 2020 season gets underway in Austria.’
German publication Bild reckons a deal is pretty much done while F1 driver turned commentator Martin Brundle added his voice to the growing list.
“I think Alonso is desperate to get back into Formula 1, he’ll be throwing his hat in the ring somewhere,” he told Sky Sports.
“Could it be a third trip to Renault for him?”
Alonso raced for Renault in the early 2000s, winning two World titles, before returning to the team in 2008 for a two-year stint.