Abiteboul admits Renault turned down Ocon for Ricciardo 12 months ago

15-09-2019 18:00
by Matt Gretton
F1 News
Abiteboul admits Renault turned down Ocon for Ricciardo 12 months ago

Cyril Abiteboul admits Renault considered signing Esteban Ocon last year until Daniel Ricciardo became available. The French driver will pair up with Ricciardo during the 2020 Formula 1 season after announcing his signing in August. 

In terms of championship standings, Renault have taken a backwards step. Renault finished as the 'best of the rest' in 2018, but McLaren are giving them a good run for their money this year. Team boss Abiteboul believes having a complete driver like Ricciardo has helped. 

"It was important when given the opportunity to seize the opportunity of a complete driver in Daniel last year and we don’t regret that at Renault. Just like right now we think it’s the right moment to start having some fresher blood," Abiteboul told RaceFans.net. 

Even though Abiteboul has found this combination, he's already thinking about adding in a different driver for the 2021 season. He hopes the Renault driver academy can start producing their own Max Verstappen's, Charles Leclerc's and Esteban Ocon's. 

"I think it’s a trend actually you can see in several teams. We are also interested in young drivers with our academy. We hope and expect to have possibly one driver from that academy by 2021. So it’s also a shift of dynamic to start really welcoming young drivers in our line-up," he added. 

“It’s not something that we would have been capable of doing two years ago but I think with more maturity in the team we can now envisage that. And that would be a good test to see if we are capable of also managing that because it’s a different type of management. Managing some who is 20, 22 or in his thirties, that’s different.”

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