Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul, has stated that the Renault team never thought of Fernando Alonso as a possible candidate to fill the second driver’s seat next year. It eventually went to Daniel Ricciardo.
Alonso announced his retirement at the end of the current season as he contemplates moving to IndyCar in a bid to complete the unofficial ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport. However, in typical Alonso style, he did leave several arguments in his wake.
Alonso rejected some offers from Red Bull and declined a McLaren renewal because of predictability. A offer he did not receive though was from former team, Renault. Apparently they do not have a good enough car for him.
“Frankly, despite the fact that I have huge respect for Fernando [Alonso], who is probably one of the best drivers in the world, the answer is no,” Abiteboul told Crash.net.
“We could feel that he is at the point in his career where he wants a car that is immediately capable of going in for wins. That’s what he’s expecting, or there is going to be more frustration.”
“We are not in that position. We need to have drivers who can understand the project, who can buy into a support the project on a long-term basis, “ Abiteboul added.
“I don’t think this is what Fernando was looking for. So the short answer is no.”
He did admit to the fact that signing Ricciardo came with his own benefits, one of them being the ‘wow’ effect, as he puts it.
“Obviously Daniel has a bit of ‘wow’ effect, because it was not really what people were expecting. But we are not choosing our drivers just to create a wow effect for one day,” said the Renault boss.
“The wow effect will come if we are capable of winning races together in the next two years.”
It does not come as a major surprise that Renault decided against offering a contract to Alonso the third time around. His first stint was incredibly successful with two title wins, not so much for the second one.
Ricciardo has seemingly accepted Renault’s prediction of challenging for wins only in 2020. The explanation provided by Abiteboul regarding Alonso makes a lot sense when given a second thought.
He has had a long F1 career and it is incredibly difficult to find the motivation to keep going, especially for someone as ambitious as him.