"To be clear, the fact that it is French is a plus, it is not the decisive criterion, it would not be logical" admits Prost at Spa-Francorchamps, at the microphone of Canal +. "There were discussions with Nico, we like him a lot, but he wanted a 2-year contract, we wanted a year and another season as an option."
"He did an amazing job for the team, but after three years, he sees that we are not progressing very fast, especially on the chassis, and we needed someone to project a little more on the long term with freshness and enthusiasm. "
This choice to change one of the drivers is accompanied by a new evolution phase of Renault: "Things are going to happen, we will have to change the team a bit (editor's note: a reshuffle coming?), And so we have to look forward to the future.With his experience of Mercedes, his age and his youth, Esteban will bring us this dynamism. "
Prost recalls a crucial point of this transfer, namely that the arrival of Ocon is not made in the context of a loan but of a definitive transfer. Mercedes will continue to manage its management.
"It's very clear, it was very clear last year before the opportunity with Daniel (Ricciardo), personally it's something I did not accept, that he is a Mercedes driver loaned. "
"Today is a Renault driver, he always has management relations with Mercedes, and it will be the same in 2 or 3 years, if he is no longer with us he can go where he wants, but as long as he's with us, he's a Renault driver. "
The arrival of Ocon is intended to jostle Ricciardo, to create a new emulation between the two drivers, while Renault has nothing to lose to see his drivers take risks and push themselves to the limit.
"What we are waiting for is a little competition, we do not have to be in the comfort of two experienced pilots, and as long as things are not going well, we must not be in the comfort."
"Esteban will bring a natural dynamism, he will want to fight and confront Daniel so all that, it must be well balanced.That is what is expected of him, it is a project over two years with an option for the third year, so it's a future choice. "