Renault looking at alternatives to Ricciardo

15/04/2020
NEWS STORY

Whatever happens, whether Chase Carey gets his 18 races, Ross his 19 or F1 has to settle for the bare minimum of 8, the after-effects of the coronavirus will hit hard... especially financially.

While there is already considerable doubt over whether Renault will continue in 2021, at present the French team insists that it will be.

However, whether Daniel Ricciardo will still be sporting the team's black and yellow overalls remains to be seen.

In the final year of his two-year deal with the French manufacturer, Ricciardo is one of the highest paid drivers on the grid, and from the team's point of view this could be a stumbling block when (/if) negotiations get underway.

Asked if it would be disappointing to lose the Australian, team boss Cyril Abiteboul told L'Equipe: "It would be if I had not seen it coming or anticipated it...

"That's why we are having discussions and have a driver academy," he added.

"In a normal season, we would have started work on the matter," the Frenchman continued. "We would have evaluated Daniel's performance over the first four races and started or not the first discussions.

"But we haven't turned a wheel... we are blind but have to plan. We may have to take decisions without the season starting."

In the meantime, as the French outfit places its UK-based workers on furlough, Abiteboul reveals that the Australian will accept a pay cut.

"It's a discussion we've already had," he said. "Daniel has already confirmed he is willing, and I can confirm to you that he will reduce it."

At a time, football clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham have reversed their decision to place non-playing staff on furlough, when asked if Ricciardo's salary might create an image problem in the eyes of critics, Abiteboul said: "The problem would have been if he had not accepted the idea.

"We still have to fix the terms," he added, "but, in principle, I can reassure the Renault group management committee; I do not fear it will destabilise the F1 program."

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Published: 15/04/2020
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