Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul says there are many “fantastic options” available to replace Daniel Ricciardo, and that the team may not look for a big name.
Renault is looking for a driver to replace the McLaren-bound Ricciardo, with many big names being speculated to be on the shortlist.
Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and even Fernando Alonso have been rumoured to be contenders for the seat, but Abiteboul has said that the team are considering a young driver.
Renault currently has six young drivers in their academy program with Guanyu Zhou, Christian Lundgaard, Max Fewtrell and Oscar Piastri in the lower formulae.
It is Zhou and Lundgaard that the team are watching for 2021, with Abiteboul wanting to see how they both perform in Formula 2 this year.
Abiteboul told Autosport: “We want to see what’s the pace of Guanyu Zhou, what’s the pace of Christian, their competitiveness. They could be fantastic options.
“As we speak now, it’s a bit audacious to think that, but who knows? With one more season of F2 for them, it could be the right thing to do.
“And that’s typically the sort of thing that we could not decide when the decision had to accelerate with Daniel.”
Zhou is fully confident that he can be China's first Formula 1 driver. He said: “I think no one else [from China] has achieved such results.
“I made the Chinese national anthem play in European F3 before and now we have seen the Chinese national flag flying in F2. I really feel proud about it as it shows what Chinese people are capable of.
“I believe what really matter is that result speaks itself in any sport. As long as you have the result, people will know Chinese [drivers] could do well in motor racing.
“My goal is to finish the season in the top three – top four will be fine – as long as I could get the points I need for a superlicense. Should any chance arise, I don’t want to miss it.”