Renault’s F1 driver line-up looks pretty settled thus far with two talented drivers in German Nico Hulkenberg and Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. Hulkenberg is tied down to a contract while Sainz is on loan from Red Bull.
The French have had a good outing so far but admitted that they were looking to tie down Sainz to a contract or will look for alternatives if his future is unclear.
Their F1 boss, Cyril Abiteboul revealed how the team would go about it. “We’ll pay attention to two things- how Carlos’s performance evolves, and how the driver situation evolves at Red Bull”, he told Autosport.
“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.”
The F1 boss was also insistent on one thing- to make sure of the line-up as quickly as possible. “It is necessary for us to define next year’s line-up. It is something I definitely want to anticipate quickly.”
“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.”
The reason why Renault seem helpless is the complex merry-go-round which the 2019 F1 driver market could see. Red Bull will surely have Verstappen driving for them but Ricciardo’s future is uncertain.
The Australian has not yet put pen-to-paper on a new deal with the possibility of driving for McLaren or Renault next year. But the new deal seems imminent as the top teams have more or less confirmed that they aren’t interested in him.
If the situation remains as it is, Renault can breathe easy as they won’t have to worry about putting an inexperienced driver in their second car, especially during a time where the car is being developed well.