Renault F1 now ready for younger drivers, says Cyril Abiteboul

Cyril Abiteboul with Esteban Ocon

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul believes the greater “maturity” of its Formula 1 operation means the team is now ready to cater for younger drivers.

Renault is one of only two teams on the grid with both of its drivers in their 30s but for next year has signed Esteban Ocon to partner Daniel Ricciardo.

Abiteboul also underlined Renault’s enthusiasm to bring through one of its Academy drivers into Formula 1 within the next few years.

“I think it is was important when given the opportunity to seize that opportunity of an accomplished driver in Daniel last year,” Abiteboul commented, explaining overlooking Ocon for 2019.

“Once we had that at Renault, and right now, we think it’s the right moment for some fresher blood to be honest and I think it’s a trend you can see in the whole team.

“We’re investing in young drivers in our Academy and we hope and expect to have possibly one driver from that Academy [in Formula 1] in 2021.

“So it’s also a dynamic, a shift in dynamic, to be ready and welcoming young drivers in our line-up.

“It’s not something I would have been capable of doing two years ago but with more maturity in the team we can now envisage that.

“And that will be good test to see if we’re capable of also managing that as it’s a different kind of managing: managing someone in his 20s, or 22, to [someone] in his 30s, that’s different.”

Abiteboul cautioned that 2020 is likely to be another learning year for Renault as part of its long-term aspirations, as it bids to make a breakthrough when the next regulatory cycle begins in 2021.

“It takes time, let’s be honest, it takes more time than a lot of people would want, than we want,” said Abiteboul on fighting at the front in Formula 1.

“We are in a world that is expecting short-term delivery of results and performance, but these teams are extremely well established, well-funded and extremely well organised, it is very difficult to make your way into the top three.

“But that’s obviously what we are striving to do and I do believe Esteban can help us with that.

“We will continue to balance what we do for 2020 and 2021, there is such a change for 2021 that we have to think carefully about how we split our resources, Esteban’s aware of that, it’s no different to lots of teams anywhere but it will give us the opportunity to learn, to properly work together in 2020, so we can be in full attack mode in 2021.”