Renault are looking to commit Carlos Sainz to a longer-term contract with the team but are aware that they are “exposed”.
Sainz is on a year-long loan with the Enstone team from Red Bull, who have shortlisted the Spaniard as a potential replacement for Daniel Ricciardo should he decide to leave at the end of the season.
But Renault are also keen to bring Sainz fully on board with Renault and have made an early move to try and achieve that objective.
“We have in my opinion still two great drivers, but obviously we have a particular situation with Carlos, which is a contract where we are exposed for next year, and we knew that since day one,” Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
“That’s why we need to start thinking way in advance about what could be the situation.
“And frankly, that is why we have already started discussion with Carlos about longer term, about what can happen beyond this year, accepting that it’s not completely in his hands nor our hands.
“[It is] not a super comfortable situation to be in, but we need to accept that we are still playing catch up on many areas and one of the areas is also driver market, where we still need to try to be more in control of our future and of our destiny.”
Sainz, meanwhile, declared himself happy to be racing for Renault but would not be drawn on his long-term future.
“I think both [Renault and me] are happy with the situation,” Sainz also told Motorsport.com.
“I am very happy with Renault, I feel privileged to be part of this brand and it seems that Renault is also interested in being able to continue with me in the future.
“But I think it is still too early to talk about the future. We are in the fourth race and it is not yet time to talk about 2019.”