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Renault undecided on Hulkenberg in 2020

NEWS STORY
26/06/2019

Out of contract at Renault at the end of this season, it is unclear what Nico Hulkenberg's options are beyond the French team.

A veteran of 165 Grands Prix he has yet to make it to the podium, his best championship finish coming last year when he took seventh.

Currently level with teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the driver standings, courtesy of the Australian's 'moment of madness' in the final stages of Sunday's French Grand Prix, for the most part the German has been out-performed by the former Red Bull driver, particularly in qualifying.

Team boss, Cyril Abiteboul admits he is currently undecided on who will partner Ricciardo next season, with some suggesting that the deal which looked likely to see Esteban Ocon at the French team this year, could now happen in 2020.

Asked, in France, if the team's 2020 line-up is decided yet, and whether Ocon will play a part, Abiteboul told reporters: "The answer to the first question is in the second part of the question...

"The situation is clear," he continued. "We have a two-year contract with Daniel. Nico's contract, the initial term is coming to an end at the end of this year. There is some mechanism of options as has been commented on in the media, which I'm not going to disclose the details of, that can kick in.

"It's maybe that we continue our journey with Nico," he added. "He has delivered for the team, clearly, and if you look at where we were when Nico joined us and where we are today, it's crazy... the change to the team, to the buzz.

In 2016, when partnered by Jolyon Palmer, Hulkenberg scored all but 1 of the French team's points, Carlos Sainz scoring just 6 a year later when he replaced Palmer three-quarters of the way through the season. Although the Spaniard presented more of a challenge in 2018, Hulkenberg remained the main points winner.

"We need to give credit to that," said Abiteboul. "But also we need to look at the options, like everyone is doing, like I'm sure Nico is doing.

"Things are open for him and for us, but there is also an option in place so that we can possibly continue our journey together," he revealed. "We will see, probably after the summer break will be the right time to sit down, discuss it on the basis of fact and desire also."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by copy_dude, 02/07/2019 18:59

"Oh, sorry. Editor. My bad. But the point was, it's not very rewarding either way if you're outside the big three. I can see Hulk being tempted by Formula E. He won't win or place in F1 until hell freezes over. And he's surely better than that."

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2. Posted by Editor, 02/07/2019 17:09

"@ copy_dude

His best championship finish coming last year wheen he took seventh"

Indeed, that's CHAMPIONSHIP position, not RACE position which is what you were referring to in terms of Silverstone."

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3. Posted by copy_dude, 02/07/2019 17:03

"Editor wrote: 'his best championship finish coming last year when he took seventh'

According to the magazine 'Pitpass', Nico got a 6th place at Silverstone last year. But yes, outside of a podium, who's counting. Especially after all these years.

The Renault has been disappointing this year. Signing a French driver will earn Cyril some credit but it's going to cost. Alain wants Renault drivers, being a loan was the problem with Sainz."

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4. Posted by @R1Racing71, 26/06/2019 13:57

"Sounds like silly season is about to be in full swing.
Personally I think he would be a good corporate fit at Mercedes ;)
"

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5. Posted by kenji, 26/06/2019 9:38

"Hulkenberg is a good solid reliable number two driver. Can he help push the development? That is the question. if it was my decision i'd pass on him for '20 and possibly give Ocon a drive. He would push Ricciardo hard and that is, IMO, what needs to happen. Daniel is a class act who would relish any sort of challenge. In reality i think that Renault will keep Hulkenberg for another year."

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