In a twist to the Renault tale, Nico Hulkenberg could have remained as a Renault driver for 2020. This was because, Renault director Alain Prost revealed that the team offered Hulkenberg a contract for 2020. However, the German driver rejected the deal, so the French outfit opted to go local.
So, if rumours are to be believed Hulkenberg looks set to switch to Haas for 2020. Though it was worth noting that he is also an outside candidate for a vacant seat at Red Bull.
When Renault penned a deal with Esteban Ocon to replace Hulkenberg for 2020, he alleged that the French driver’s nationality played a role in the decision.
“It’s good that Ocon is French,” Alain Prost told Canal Plus. “But it would not be logical to make that the deciding factor.
“What was decisive is that we offered Nico Hulkenberg a one-year contract with an option for 2021, but he wanted a two-year contract, not an option.
“Without going into detail now, he did a great job for Renault, but after three years, he saw that we were not progressing as fast with the chassis as we all hoped.
“We needed someone with more freshness, more enthusiasm. Esteban Ocon brings a whole new dynamic to the team.”
However the 4-time world champion admitted that Ocon’s nationality will place extra pressure on the 22-year-old.
“Being a French driver in a French team is not always easy, and I know because I lived it. It’s not easy at all,” Prost revealed to RMC Sport.
So, for 2020, Ocon will partner Daniel Ricciardo at Renault, with Hulkenberg on the lurch for now. However, if he heads to Haas F1, either Kevin Magnussen or Romain Grosjean will have to be dropped. Going by 2019 form, Grosjean looks to be the likelier candidate to be bumped out.