Alonso 'an option' but Renault not rushing 2021 call

Renault are considering a second return for Fernando Alonso but will not rush a decision on their 2021 line-up, team principal Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed.

The French outfit have a spare seat for next year after Daniel Ricciardo sealed a move to McLaren.

Talk has subsequently built of Alonso coming back to the team where he twice won the Formula One drivers' championship.

The Spaniard departed Renault after his second triumph in 2006 but never again won the title, finishing third with Mercedes and then - after a two-year stint back at Renault - second on three occasions with Ferrari.

Alonso quit F1 following the 2018 campaign, yet he later said he would not "close doors 100 per cent to anything in the future".

Asked about the possibility of signing Alonso, Abiteboul told RMC: "It could be a lot of drivers. There are some nice drivers who will be available next year.

"The one you mentioned is an option."

The usual F1 driver carousel has started early in 2020, with the season yet to get under way due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Besides Ricciardo's switch, Ferrari have already announced Sebastian Vettel's departure and the arrival of Carlos Sainz as his replacement.

Abiteboul has been left bemused by the swift business and, in contrast, is determined to take his time.

He added: "The only thing I can say for sure is that we're going to take the time to think about it. It's an extremely important decision.

"We didn't want to get into the kind of activism that there has been from Ferrari and McLaren, for reasons that are theirs.

"Quite frankly, deciding on a driver when the [2020] season hasn't even started, we thought it was a bit strange.

"This choice of driver is the last piece of the puzzle in our reconstruction. There is a huge importance of taking our time and making the right choice."