Ocon: Alonso has already been texting me

Jon Wilde
Esteban Ocon PA

Esteban Ocon is happy to have Fernando Alonso as his Renault team-mate for 2021

Esteban Ocon has revealed he has already been chatting over text with his Renault team-mate for next year, Fernando Alonso.

Renault confirmed this week that Alonso will rejoin them in 2021 for a third stint, 18 years after his initial debut, as the replacement for Daniel Ricciardo who is moving to McLaren.

It will give the team a driver line-up of contrasting experience as Alonso will partner a man 15 years his junior, with Ocon having previously revealed he would be “very happy” to have the man who won two World Championships for Renault as a colleague.

As he prepared for only his second competitive weekend with Renault at the Styrian Grand Prix, the Frenchman reiterated his delight at the Alonso news and confirmed the duo had been in touch about what the future may bring.

“It’s great,” said Ocon, quoted by Formula 1’s official website. “Of course Fernando is very linked to the brand and if you look at the success he had with the team, it’s for sure fantastic, but we need to build something new with him coming now.

“He has great experience and I’m pretty sure he can bring that to the team and make the car evolve, and he’s very, very motivated. I’ve had him on text yesterday, or before yesterday, and he’s very keen to come back.

“We just chatted about the opportunity there is in these next years and how the field is close at this moment, so I think there is a good chance of doing well if we work well.”

Ricciardo, the man Alonso will succeed at Renault, also gave his blessing to the Spaniard’s return from a two-year F1 sabbatical.

The Australian said: “It’s going to be great for the sport. He’s such a name in the sport and has been for so many years, so to return with the team and the brand that got him his titles, I think it’s a good fit.

“And I’m excited to race against him again. Personally, [we had] some good battles along the way, but always I felt a very good level of respect as a racer with him, so it’s cool.

“His last season in F1 was a pretty strong one from everything I heard and saw. Obviously the results weren’t always there but as far as getting the most out of the car, I think that was pretty evident that he was.”

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