Renault won’t ‘write-off’ 2016 drivers

Date published: August 16 2016

Despite reports linking other drivers to their race-seats, Cyril Abiteboul is adamant Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are not out of the running for a 2017 Renault drive.

According to reports Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas are both being chased by Renault, who are also looking to evaluate Esteban Ocon as he makes his F1 debut in Belgium.

This has raised questions about whether there is place for Magnussen or Palmer in next year’s line-up.

Magnussen is the only one of the two Renault drivers to have scored this season as he finished P7 in Russia, while Palmer’s best result is an 11th place.

Abiteboul told Motorsport.com: “Hopefully people realise that with our current line-up, we are not writing them off.

“We will have to see how the season is panning out, but they are doing a good job with the hardware they are given, frankly.

“Having a leader [for the future], we will need that – but when Red Bull made the choice of Vettel, he was not a world champion and Red Bull was not a world champion – they grew together.

“Years later, in hindsight, it is an obvious association, but actually in the early days it was not at all the situation.

“If there is a model I would say we are more towards that model of maybe finding the Vettel of tomorrow, growing together, maybe become champion together.

“Buying an existing World Champion, I don’t think this is an absolute necessity in modern F1.”

The team principal added that while Renault have the financial clout to “buy” a star driver, he feels they also have the ability to “build” one.

“We may have the capability to build that future World Champion driver together, so maybe he will be with us in 2017 and maybe we will be champion together in 2020.

“It is a great strategy from a sporting perspective and from a marketing perspective but also a financial perspective.

“It is not secret that it costs far less to do that than to buy a star that is already well accomplished – even though it is a fantastic opportunity.

“We are not writing off any opportunity, frankly we have the financial capability to buy a star today, but I am not sure this is a wise move to make.”