They might just be ninth in the championship at the moment, but Renault has become one of the most desirable teams left with a seat available. The battle for that final seat is far from over, with the number of drivers in contention continuing to reduce.
The seat in fact looks even more interesting to some than Force India, currently the highest place team with a seat available in fourth. As expected Kevin Magnussen is at the top of the list, and he has a desire to stay at the team. This comes at just as the same time the option on his services next season has expired, with the Dane now a free agent. That isn’t to say though that they are not talking, as clearly there is a lot going on behind the scenes at Renault despite not always apparent who is calling the shots there.
Esteban Ocon is still in the frame, with his links to Mercedes looking stronger since competing well against Pascal Wehrlein at Manor. The tall Frenchman has been literally shoehorned into the seat there, and has been matching and now outperforming Wehrlein. Given that performance, Mercedes may want to keep him for themselves, and possibly place him at Force India which isn’t good news for Pascal. His refusal to turn off his engine when in the gravel on Friday didn’t paint a good picture of the German.
Renault have missed out on a number of drivers for next season. Sergio Perez decided to stay at Force India in the hope of a Ferrari drive in 2018, Carlos Sainz was retained by Toro Rosso with the group looking to keep the Spaniard after racing well against Max Verstappen, and the expectation that Valtteri Bottas will be at Williams for another season.
If the highly rated Frenchman didn’t go to Force India, speculation has grown that Felipe Nasr could make the move there with his money from Brazil to create a Latin American super-team. Sauber have distanced themselves from Ferrari recently after a long relationship, which could mean a surprise driver there if Nasr does make the move. Possibly someone like Antonio Giovanazzi from GP2, or Rio Haryanto would be interested in that seat.