The Renault F1 team has said that they must be prepared in the event of Carlos Sainz leaving them. The French manufacturer are assessing their 2019 option as the Spaniard’s future with Red Bull remains unclear.
Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul hopes to finalise his 2019 line-up as soon as possible. Sainz’s future is dependent on what Daniel Ricciardo does with his Red Bull future.
According to Red Bull, a fresh deal with Ricciardo is close to being inked. Ricciardo himself has admitted that he is likely to stay with Red Bull. This revelations comes as he realises that moving to Ferrari or Mercedes is highly unlikely.
Interestingly, Renault and customer team McLaren have also been linked with Ricciardo. The Australian driver described them as options with “some appeal”.
Renault also held talks with Sainz regarding a long-term contract, but Sainz is only free to leave Red Bull if he is not promoted to the senior squad when his loan to Renault ends.
Until Red Bull sort out their lineup,, Abiteboul feels it is essential Renault looks elsewhere for alternatives. Speculation has also linked Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon, as well as Ricciardo, with the seat.
“We’ll pay attention to two things: how Carlos’s performance evolves, and how the driver situation evolves at Red Bull,” Abiteboul said.
“We’re well aware this could have an impact on Carlos’s availability for next year.
“My responsibility is to make sure there are alternatives if Carlos were not available for us in the time frame that seems reasonable and necessary for us to define next year’s line-up.
“Something I definitely want is to anticipate as quickly as possible next year’s line-up.
“We need to be able to look at alternatives, as we know we don’t completely control Carlos’s future at Renault, because we don’t control the future between Red Bull and Carlos.”
Abiteboul wants to find opportunities in grand prix racing for the best youngsters from the Renault Sport Academy. Similar to what Red Bull does with Toro Rosso and Mercedes did with Pascal Wehrlein and Ocon.