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Renault opens up on 'difficult call' to axe Hulkenberg

  • Published on 30 Aug 2019 14:50
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Renault admits that it was a difficult call to make the decision to part ways with Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the 2019 season.

The Enstone squad announced on Thursday that Esteban Ocon would join Daniel Ricciardo at the team in 2020, as it continues to build on its Formula 1 project.

MOREHulkenberg: Losing Renault seat for 2020 a 'pity' | Ricciardo, Hulkenberg to take grid penalties

Hulkenberg has been a driver at Renault since 2017 and has been an integral part of developing the team, helping it to a fourth-place finish in the constructors' championship last season. 

"It's been a difficult call to make with Nico's contract coming to an end at the end of the season," said Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul. "A decision had to be made on whether we wanted to stay put with our driver line-up or bring in a bit of change.

“It’s difficult because we all love Nico in the team. He has been instrumental to the progress that we have made.

"We have all struggled this season, but last year he has been instrumental in securing P4 in the championship. He had a good seventh place in the drivers’ championship, which is clearly the best that we can target.

“But frankly, when you make a decision like that, you don’t just look at pure pace. You also need to look at the collective dynamic.

"There is a dynamic that we need to restart and reset in the team. And for that, we also need to project ourselves into the medium-to-long-term future, not just 2020 but 2021 and what’s happening to his teammate and so on and so forth.

“So all of that, but in particular, the collective dynamic, what Esteban can probably bring to the team, probably starving for racing, being super happy to come back into racing, but also because he’s been out of a seat for a year. It’s all of these elements that we factored into the equation."

Abiteboul is confident that Hulkenberg will find another seat in Formula 1, with a move to Haas supposedly on the cards for the German driver. 

"Plus also it's important to say that, it's not a certainty because we can't be certain of anything, but there's a high chance that Nico can continue his racing career," Abiteboul added.

Replies (3)

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  • Hulk had his shot, and blew it. Not many racers would get 170 races under their belt to prove their worth in F1. He is simply not the stuff a top team deserves. But, in this specific case, Hulk is not missing out much by parting with a high spending, poorly managed, and low performing 'works' team.

    • + 0
    • Aug 30 2019 - 20:24
  • f1ski

    Posts: 611

    Maybe I am wrong but Hulkenberg was rarely the reason he failed to finish . I believe Renault wanted a French driver. While Ocon is fast he can be prone to the red mist and I think they have made a step backwards. I think the tendency to tangle with his teammate and inability to assess the bigger picture is why Bottas remains

    • + 1
    • Aug 31 2019 - 01:19
    • That's very much my take on it too. It ain't really about Hulk blowing it as much as it is Renault just ditching him because reasons.

      • + 0
      • Aug 31 2019 - 13:26

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