SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - French driver Esteban Ocon said on Thursday that he would welcome double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso back to Renault if the team were open to the 38-year-old Spaniard making a comeback with them.
Alonso, who left Formula One at the end of 2018 after a last season with McLaren, won his championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006.
The twice Le Mans 24 Hours winner has made no secret of his desire to return to the Formula One grid, with the French manufacturer having a vacancy and seen as his best bet.
"My personal choice has no relation to what the team is going to do but I have a great relationship with Fernando," Ocon told reporters at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
"The helmet I have, and the only swap I did in between drivers, was with him. He was the one with Michael (Schumacher), his fights back in the day, that gave me the love for the sport.
"I don’t know if he is going to join or not with us but definitely if he could come back here I’d be very happy."
Ocon is contracted for 2021 at the French team while Australian Daniel Ricciardo is leaving at the end of the season to join McLaren.
Renault finished last season fifth overall.
"Fernando is motivated. A year away from Formula One has done him good... I see him calmer and ready to return," his long-time adviser and former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore said in May.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)