Renault team in no hurry to find Ricciardo replacement
The Renault DP World F1 Team will have a new driver in 2021 after Daniel Ricciardo announced he would be leaving the team at the end of 2020 season.
The Australian confirmed he would be moving to McLaren having joined Renault at the start of 2019.
Renault’s 2005 and 2006 World Champion Fernando Alonso (currently out of F1), Sebastien Vettel (who has confirmed he will leave Ferrari at the end of this year) and current Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas have all been touted by media as possible replacements for Ricciardo.
Media have also pointed to the fact that the team could look instead to an emerging talent from the Renault Sport Academy which each year takes under its wing and supports a select handful of drivers in categories such as Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula 3 and Formula 2…
However, Renault F1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul has said no decision on who will replace Ricciardo will be taken until the 2020 season finally gets under way.
Ultimately, Ricciardo’s seat is one of the most high-profile in F1 and whoever takes over it will become the new team-mate to Renault’s new 2020 signing Estebon Ocon.
In a brief statement, Ricciardo tweeted: “I am so grateful for my time with @renaultf1team and the way I was accepted by the team. But we aren’t done and I can’t wait to get back on the grid this year. My next chapter isn’t here yet, so let’s finish this one strong. Merci.”
Last season, Ricciardo gave Renault its best result so far since it returned to F1 with its own team in 2017 – a fourth place finish at Monza.
His leaving Renault means more re-shuffling of the team’s senior figures.
And, as Abiteboul explained in this article with Autosport.com: “We had a lot of changes last year: 70% of our staff have seen a change of management or structure to their department – a new technical director, new head of aero, new engineering director.”
Meanwhile, the Renault F1 team members now know that they will be heading to Austria in early July for their first two grands prix of 2020 after F1 confirmed a much revised calendar for this season.
Back-to-back grands prix – on 5 and then 12 July – at Red Bull Ring will finally get the season under way (the first being called the Austrian GP, the second the Styrian GP).
As we went to press, it was reported that both Ricciardo and Ocon would test Renault’s 2018 F1 car – the R.S.18 – at the Red Bull Ring on 16 June (teams are not permitted to run newer machinery outside of official testing or designated filming days).
Austria’s races are then set to be followed by the Hungarian GP at the Hungaroring on 19 July before two more back-to-back GPs on successive weekends at Silverstone, UK (2 & 9 August) – the second of which will be titled the F1 70th Anniversary GP.
Barcelona, Spain (16 Aug), Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (30 Aug) and Monza, Italy (6 Sept) will then complete an opening European leg before the calendar moves to as-yet undisclosed dates/venues across Eurasia, Asia, the Americas and the Gulf regions.
However, F1 has confirmed that the Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japanese GPs will not take place in 2020.