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Renault not rushing to secure second 2021 driver

  • Published on 26 May 2020 09:42
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Renault is not rushing to sign up a second driver for 2021 before the current season starts, its managing director Cyril Abiteboul has said.

Earlier this month, McLaren announced that it had signed Daniel Ricciardo from Renault, leaving a vacant spot at the Enstone-based squad alongside Esteban Ocon.

A number of drivers, including Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, have been linked with the seat.

MORE: Abiteboul denies Renault's F1 future is in question

MOREBottas management initiates talks with Renault - report

However, Abiteboul says that because no race has taken place yet in 2020, it is impossible to know where Renault lies in the pecking order which impacts how the team spends its money.

“We've not done a race, we've not done even a session,” Abiteboul told Autosport. “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.”

Abiteboul added that he expects there to be another domino effect of driver movements later in the year, which Renault will be part of. 

“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 may be another one, but not before a number of months.

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

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