Renault principal Cyril Abiteboul says the team want to promote an academy driver in 2021, that could spell the end for Daniel Ricciardo.
It was announced after the summer break that Esteban Ocon would leave his role as the Mercedes reserve driver to join Renault for 2020 where he will partner Ricciardo.
However, the Aussie’s contract is up with the team at the end of next season, and Abiteboul has confirmed that Renault want to promote an academy driver into a race seat for 2021.
Ocon’s seat is unlikely to be up for grabs just a year on, so that suggests that Ricciardo could be in trouble.
As quoted by Racefans.net, Abiteboul said: “It was important when given the opportunity to seize the opportunity of a complete driver in Daniel last year and we don’t regret that at Renault. Just like right now we think it’s the right moment to start having some fresher blood.
“I think it’s a trend actually you can see in several teams. We are also interested in young drivers with our academy. We hope and expect to have possibly one driver from that academy by 2021. So it’s also a shift of dynamic to start really welcoming young drivers in our line-up.
“It’s not something that we would have been capable of doing two years ago but I think with more maturity in the team we can now envisage that. And that would be a good test to see if we are capable of also managing that because it’s a different type of management. Managing some who is 20, 22 or in his thirties, that’s different.”
Formula 2 duo Jack Aitken and Guanyu Zhou are Renault’s most senior Academy prospects.
Anthoine Hubert, who was tragically killed in the F2 Feature Race at Spa, was also part of the Renault junior set-up.