Renault won't decide Ricciardo replacement until season starts

Renault will wait until after the 2020 Formula 1 season has started before it decides on who it wants to replace Daniel Ricciardo for next season.

Renault won't decide Ricciardo replacement until season starts

With Ricciardo having signed a contract to join McLaren for 2021, Renault needs to fill a vacancy it has in its outfit alongside Esteban Ocon.

But while a host of big name stars have emerged as contenders for the seat – including Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel – the team says it does not want to rush a decision on the matter.

Its F1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul says it is essential Renault knows how competitive its 2020 car is before it makes a call on the type of driver it takes for next year.

“We've not done a race, we've not done even a session,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview as part of the #thinkingforward series. “We've [just] done the winter test.

“Our performance was encouraging, but it's just winter testing, and frankly, as I'm speaking, I don't know the competitiveness of our car. We all have our analysis but until we've done a proper qualifying run we don't know.

“Typically the competitiveness of the car is a representation of the competitiveness of the team and the new people that we have. Therefore the priorities of where we want to put our money is an indication that I want to have before I rush any decision.

“Our position is more a position about taking the time to be properly informed, to make sure that we make the right decision, because probably the next decision on drivers will be an important one and most probably the driver who will join us for 2021 will stay for 2022.

“[Plus] we will know that if our sporting road map has been changed due to the shift to the regulations, our ambitions have not changed and we need to make sure to have the right drivers.”

He added: “We want to take the time to make sure we make the right decision. I think that there has been the first sort of domino of drivers. I expect that there maybe another one, but not before a number of months.

“So we think of ourself as part of this second movement, and nothing in between.”

Read Also:

Abiteboul admitted he was ‘disappointed’ that Ricciardo had elected to leave Renault before seeing how much progress the team had made with its 2020 car, but he suggested a push from McLaren and Ferrari to settle their driver line-ups early forced the Australian’s hand.

“First it's important to remember that we have one year, one season to do together, and we expect more out of that season than from last season, that is for sure,” said Abiteboul when asked about Ricciardo's decision.

“I'm a bit disappointed because I don't think that you can build anything without stability. That goes for drivers, but frankly that's also true for the rest of the organisation.

“We had a lot of changes last year: 70% of our staff have seen a change of management or structure to their department. A new technical director, new head of aero, new engineering director.

"All of that has happened in the last 12 months with lots of change. I would have liked to see that result of that, because we know that there is a bit of latency, before going into the action of a driver change and driver discussion.

“And then I'm a bit surprised about the activism of two particular F1 teams, who have pushed Daniel to sort of rush the decision. We decided not to bend over this timing and to stick to our plan. Our plan and our priority is to make a better car.

“If we had had a better car last year, probably you will not be asking me this question. And we know that if we have a better car we'll be able to attract any driver in the future, so that's our focus. That's been our priority.

“The new regulation, the new deal [rules], have been our priority. Securing the future of F1 has been our priority. He's made his decision, we're moving on.”

shares
comments
When Irvine stepped out of Schumacher's shadow
Previous article

When Irvine stepped out of Schumacher's shadow

Next article

British GP open to August date to save F1 race

British GP open to August date to save F1 race
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021