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Formula 1

Ricciardo won’t give up 2020 FP1s to help Alonso return

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Daniel Ricciardo is not prepared to give up his car to let Fernando Alonso drive in any free practice sessions during 2020 before he returns to Formula 1 with Renault next year.

Alonso will replace McLaren-bound Ricciardo next season, starting a third stint with Renault after two years away from F1.

That lay-off has prompted talk of how the two-time world champion could get back up to speed, either driving a 2018 F1 car as Renault’s drivers did before the Austrian Grand Prix, or appearing in a Friday morning session later in the year.

When asked by The Race if he’d be willing to give up his car to help Alonso get acclimatised, Ricciardo said: “No, because I heard the words ‘help Fernando’. He doesn’t need any help.

“It didn’t look like he slowed down at all with age. His last season in F1 [with McLaren in 2018] 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 so I don’t think he needs help.”

Ricciardo said he’d welcome Alonso joining Renault at some races in 2020, as long as it didn’t mean giving up any of his own track time.

Daniel Ricciardo Fernando Alonso McLaren Red Bull Renault F1 2018

“I don’t know if he’ll be trackside at a few races or what,” he said.

“As far as him sitting in on meetings and giving feedback, absolutely no worries but I’ll do as much driving as I can.

“It’s going to be great for the sport, he’s such a name and has been for so many years.

“So to return with the team that got him his titles [in 2005 and ’06], I think it’s a good fit, and I’m excited to race against him again.”

Alonso has been in contact with his 2021 team-mate Esteban Ocon since the news of his move was made official.

“He’s very motivated,” said Ocon. “I had him on the text yesterday or before yesterday and he’s very keen to come back.

“He’s very keen to make the project move forward, he’s aware of what we need to do and what the chances are and I’m pretty sure we can have a great collaboration.

“We need to build something new, with him coming in now. He has a great experience and I’m pretty sure he can bring that to the team and make the car evolve.

“Working with a legend like him is a fantastic benchmark for me.”

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