Renault director Alain Prost revealed during the weekend in Belgian that Nico Hulkenberg turned down an offer for 2020 because he was seeking more than a year extension with the French team.
Renault has signed up Esteban Ocon to replace Hulkenberg for 2020, which prompted the German driver to claim the French driver’s nationality played a role in the decision.
“It’s good that Ocon is French,” admitted F1 legend Prost to Canal Plus at Spa. “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,” Prost added.
However, Prost also pointed out that Ocon’s nationality will actually put 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.”
Meanwhile, Hulkenberg looks set to switch to Haas but Silly Season reports indicate he is also hoping to be a candidate for the vacant seat at Red Bull.
Big Question: Was Nico wise to turn down a one-year deal with Renault?