Renault won’t be dictated by Ricciardo’s decision

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo won't dictate Renault's future strategy says Cyril Abiteboul.

Renault principal Cyril Abiteboul says the team refuse to base their future strategy around whether Daniel Ricciardo decides to stay or go.

The Australian driver is out of contract and is widely being tipped to join McLaren for 2021 if Carlos Sainz makes his expected move to Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement.

And while Abiteboul would like more “information” on the whole situation, he was clear that Renault will not base their future strategy on the “decision of one single man”.

“I think all of us would like to have a bit more information, more intelligence about the situation as we indeed need to project ourselves into the future,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“We will be focused on what we have to do, what is best for the team, that will be the team first before any individual.

“Clearly Daniel, like Esteban, has to play a huge role in what we have to do.

“As everyone knows and expects, we are having a number of discussions, just like he is having a number of discussions.

“We also have an academy, a young driver academy in which we have invested a lot.

“The purpose of that academy was to be able to bring a talent into Formula 1 by 2021, but 2021 is actually next year.

“That is another option, whether it’s an option that we take or not, we will see that later.

“But you can’t have the whole process, the whole strategy of Renault, be down to the decision of one single man, that’s for sure, even if that one single man matters a lot to me.”

While silly season is ongoing teams and F1 bosses also remain in negotiations over lowering the spending limit that is set to come in from 2021.

The cap was originally set at $175m per season, but that could now be lowered to $145m with exceptions.

One of those is driver salaries, but while the legalities of it are complex, Abiteboul wants to see driver salaries be included in the budget cap to ensure the series is sustainable for the future.

Ricciardo’s bumper two-year deal at Renault serves as a good example, while Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are also tied down at Red Bull and Ferrari respectively long-term.

“It’s part of the debate, part of what’s on the table, [but has] an additional complexity of legality, because we need to make sure that it’s legal, in the sense that we need to make sure that it’s forceable,” he said.

“And also the extra complexity that you have some drivers that have already very long-term contracts – so congratulations to Max [Verstappen] in that respect.

“But I think if we need to make exceptions for systems that will be healthy, and important for the sustainability of the sport, I think we still need to do it.

“We should not have one given individual, one given situation, in your current case Max’s contract or Charles [Leclerc’s] contract with Ferrari, to block a process if it is a right process.

“We think bringing a bit of rationale on driver salary when a number of people will be laid off because of the budget cap would make sense.”

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