Renault says it is in discussions with “big names” for 2021 but that any signing must be fully committed to the manufacturer’s Formula 1 project.
Daniel Ricciardo will leave Renault for McLaren at the end of the season, opening up a vacancy alongside Esteban Ocon, who is in the first campaign of a two-year deal.
Outgoing Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel is ostensibly the highest-profile free agent for 2021 while ex-Renault racer Fernando Alonso has also been tentatively linked with a return.
Renault also has Formula 2 drivers Guan Yu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard on its Academy, with Zhou sharing the role of reserve driver alongside former Williams racer Sergey Sirotkin.
When asked by MotorsportWeek.com about whether Renault needs a top-level signing for 2021, such as Vettel or Alonso, team boss Cyril Abiteboul commented: “We need first a driver for each car!
“We need a quick driver, we need a talented driver, and we need a driver that can understand and buy into Renault’s project.
“We are very clear about the nature of our team, we are a bit of a unique team in the Formula 1 landscape, at the same time very loyal to Formula 1 but also a young team, still in the making with some struggles, in particular last year.
“We need someone capable to understand all of that and understand the value of all the work, effort and ethic we are putting into that.
“I’m not saying that Daniel has not understood that – that is absolutely not what I mean, I’m talking about the future.
“We are talking to a few names, some big names, some lesser known names, we are taking the time and we are again making sure there is a good alignment between what we are and what any driver is looking to get in a team like ours.”