Renault has admitted its interest in signing up Carlos Sainz for 2017.
The first sign of the French marque’s interest was comments made a few days ago by F1 legend Alain Prost, who is an ambassador and advisor to the works Renault team.
“I would like to see how he (Sainz) develops in a top team,” the quadruple world champion had told the French-language Minute-Auto.fr.
Amid the rumours those comments triggered, Fernando Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad agreed that 21-year-old Sainz is one of the rising stars of F1.
“I recently read an article on the performance of Sainz and Verstappen and it was very similar,” Garcia Abad told the Spanish sports daily AS in Montreal.
“The difference between the two was a phone call (from Red Bull),” he added, referring to Dr Helmut Marko’s decision to promote Verstappen to the senior team.
“He (Sainz) has maturity, talent and a desire to take his chance, and he is going to get that chance,” Garcia Abad, whose charge Alonso is a close friend of Sainz’s, said.
Crucially, as the rumour reached all the way to the Renault team boss Frederic Vasseur, the Frenchman did not take the opportunity to issue a denial.
“The first thing we would need to know is his contractual situation,” he told another Spanish daily, Marca. “But he is a very interesting driver for the future.”