Renault eyeing Sainz alternatives for 2019

Date published: July 18 2018

Carlos Sainz: In dark over 2019 future

Renault are preparing a shortlist of drivers for the 2019 season with Carlos Sainz still in the dark over his future.

The Spaniard, still part of the Red Bull programme and currently on loan at Renault, has been patiently waiting for a vacant seat to appear with the Milton-Keynes based outfit – but is once again set to miss out.

Current Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who is out of contract at the end of the season, had been hoping for an opportunity to open up at either Mercedes or Ferrari, yet that appears now to be highly unlikely and is set to commit his future to Red Bull.

But, whilst the wait continues, Renault are formulating a contingency plan in the event that Sainz cannot continue with the team next season.

“We’ll pay attention to two things: how Carlos’s performance evolves, and how the driver situation evolves at Red Bull,” Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“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 has also identified the crucial 2021 regulations as an opportunity to potentially use their academy in order to bring through the next generation of Formula 1 drivers.

“This academy lacks something: a connection with a Formula 1 team that can take on a driver from the academy,” Abiteboul added.

“We can see that’s what Red Bull has with Toro Rosso, that’s what Mercedes has with Force India and/or sometimes Williams.

“That’s one of the reasons why the [Renault] relationship with Red Bull doesn’t make sense with our new goals as a fully-fledged team, especially regarding our nurturing of drivers.

“I couldn’t see myself asking Helmut [Marko] to take on a driver of ours, that’s for sure. We’re not going to do it with McLaren either.

“But when we start thinking about our customer engine strategy for 2021, clearly, an element that will be on my mind is the customer’s ability to take on a driver from our academy.”

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