By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
With the rumors swirling around McLaren-Honda like vultures, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg has gone on record saying he would welcome Fernando Alonso back to Renault should the two-time World Champ leave McLaren at season’s end.
Speaking to Speed Week ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, the German driver was very excited at the possibility of Alonso considering a Renault return.
“I think it would be great,” said Hulkenberg.
“It would be great not only for the whole team, but for me as well to compete with one of the best drivers in the world. I could learn a lot from him and without a doubt Fernando would be a huge boost for the whole Renault project.”
With Alonso’s comments this week about wanting a winning car and needing to make his decision for 2018 soon, the pressure is mounting on Honda to deliver the goods to McLaren or risk losing their star driver.
At the same time, rumors are also intensifying about the future of Renault’s second driver, Jolyon Palmer. The young Brit is enduring a difficult second season in F1 where he has failed to match team mate Hulkenberg. With Renault’s ambition to compete for championships the team needs two strong drivers and a pairing of Alonso with Hulkenberg would maximize their chances more than keeping Palmer for a third season.
The recent Renault test for Robert Kubica only adds increased speculation for the future of the second seat, as a full F1 return for the Polish driver would be an extremely popular if unlikely move for the team. Reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin is also campaigning for the seat after finishing third in GP2 in 2015 and 2016.
Will Alonso go to Renault? Will Palmer stay, or will Sirotkin, Kubica or another drive alongside Hulkenberg in 2018?
It will surely be one of the most speculated rides in F1 the deeper we get into 2017.