Apparently, Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon could replace Nico Hulkenberg at Renault for the 2020 season. However, it seems that the French team would love to field a French driver in a French team. The last time they had a French driver on the team was in 2009. That was when Romain Grosjean stepped in after Nelson Piquet Jr was sacked for his involvement in the 2008 Crashgate scandal.
For Renault, Not only would they have a French driver racing for them, but there is a financial reason as well. If Mercedes loan Ocon to the team then the reigning champions will be paying for some of his salary putting less strain on Renault’s back pocket.
RMC Sport reported that “The French manufacturer is very interested in Ocon, which has the advantage of being fast, reliable and cheap. With the very large salary paid to Daniel Ricciardo, Renault would not be opposed to a reduction in labor costs.
“By taking Ocon instead of Hulkenberg, it would happen. When Renault returned to Formula 1, they had made the German driver a priority and therefore overpaid a little.”
It seems unlikely that a company as big as Renault would be worried about the cost of drivers but to have someone will the skillset of Ocon at a reduced price would be ideal.
As for Nico Hulkenberg, not to worry about him, as he has been linked to a seat at Haas F1. However, that would mean that one of their current drivers would be let go. Given their drivers’ recent performances, it seems more than likely that Grosjean would be the one getting the boot.