'Exposed' Renault F1 team starts Carlos Sainz Jr contract talks

Renault has opened talks with Carlos Sainz Jr about a long-term Formula 1 contract, admitting his Red Bull loan deal leaves it "exposed"

'Exposed' Renault F1 team starts Carlos Sainz Jr contract talks

Sainz can be called back from Renault by Red Bull - which has backed his whole career so far - next year if it loses Daniel Ricciardo to a rival.

With Ricciardo's future unlikely to be settled until the summer, Renault is left in a difficult position regarding its 2019 driver plans.

Despite that uncertainty, Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said the team is discussing a long-term plan with Sainz so it is ready if Red Bull does not require him.

"Obviously we have a particular situation with Carlos, which is a contract where we are exposed for next year, and we knew that since day one," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"That's why we need to start thinking way in advance about what could be the situation.

"We have already started discussions with Carlos about longer term, about what can happen beyond this year, accepting that it's not completely in his hands nor our hands.

"[It is] not a super-comfortable situation to be in, but we need to accept that we are still playing catch-up on many areas and one of the areas is also the driver market, where we still need to try to be more in control of our future and of our destiny."

Abiteboul admitted Renault was not yet strong enough to attract race-winning drivers such as Ricciardo, while its junior drivers such as Jack Aitken - who will drive its car in next week's Barcelona test - were not yet ready for F1 race seats.

"We are interested in talented drivers, and Ricciardo is a talented driver," said Abiteboul.

"Daniel Ricciardo is very well positioned to have a very clear understanding about where we are strong, where we can be weak, because obviously he is using a Renault engine, which can be good and sometimes can be wrong.

"If we want to seduce drivers like Ricciardo - maybe Ricciardo, but maybe other drivers - the first thing that we need to do is to to get our stuff right.

"And if we manage to build the best chassis/engine package, I am pretty sure that we can attract someone like Ricciardo because we can show that we are serious about our ambitions.

"But the first thing that we need to do for Daniel is to make sure that we are in complete control of the engine situation."

While Abiteboul is already pushing Red Bull to make a decision on its engine plans for 2019, as it also courts Honda, he is also eager for it to make a call on whether it wants Sainz back.

"Maybe we cannot control everything, but at least we need to have visibility on the future," he said.

"And that is why I am also acting to speed things up with Red Bull on the engine side, and that will be the same also on the drivers side."

shares
comments
Mirror tweaks to SF71H highlight level of scrutiny Ferrari is under

Previous article

Mirror tweaks to SF71H highlight level of scrutiny Ferrari is under

Next article

The moment that proves Raikkonen is no Vettel lackey

The moment that proves Raikkonen is no Vettel lackey
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Oleg Karpov
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021