Renault's Abiteboul makes veiled dig at Ricciardo

Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has stressed the importance of "unity and commitment" after confirming Daniel Ricciardo's departure from the team at the end of the season.

Renault's Abiteboul makes veiled dig at Ricciardo

Ricciardo will leave Renault after two years after signing a deal with McLaren for 2021, replacing Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard moves up to Ferrari in place of Sebastian Vettel.

The news was initially confirmed by McLaren on Thursday morning before Renault issued a statement soon after.

"Within the unprecedented context of the 2020 season, discussions held with Daniel Ricciardo concerning a renewal of his contract beyond the end of 2020 have not been successful," the statement read.

Renault F1 managing director Abiteboul made no reference to Ricciardo in his quote with the announcement, instead moving to highlight the value of loyalty for the team moving forward.

"In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team," Abiteboul said.

"I am confident that the 2020 season will allow us to accomplish even more together.

"Our ambitions and the strategy of Renault DP World F1 Team remain unchanged."

Ricciardo made a shock switch from Red Bull to Renault at the end of the 2018 season, becoming one of the highest-paid drivers on the grid.

The move was part of a long-term plan for Renault to return to the front of the F1 field, setting its sights on race wins and a championship bid under the new regulations planned for 2021. These have since been delayed to 2022 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ricciardo endured a difficult first season at Renault as the team failed to retain its position at the front of the midfield, let alone cut the gap to the leading three teams as it had hoped to.

The team dropped behind McLaren to fifth in the constructors' championship, with Ricciardo recording a best race finish of fourth in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

It led to some concerns about the long-term potential of the Renault project, but the French manufacturer remained committed to continuing with Ricciardo beyond 2020.

But with the market moving quickly after Vettel's Ferrari exit was decided, Ricciardo was snapped up by McLaren to partner Lando Norris from 2021 on a multi-year deal.

"I am so grateful for my time with Renault and the way I was accepted into the team," Ricciardo wrote on Twitter following the announcement.

"But we aren't done and I can't wait to get back on the grid this year. My next chapter isn't here yet, so let's finish this one strong. Merci."

The announcement now leaves a vacant seat at Renault for 2021 alongside Esteban Ocon.

Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso has been linked with the seat given his free agent status. The Spaniard won both his titles during his first stint with Renault between 2003 and 2006, and returned for 2008-09 after an ill-fated year at McLaren.

Abiteboul recently talked up the possibility of one of Renault's academy drivers moving into F1, a goal it had publicly targeted for the 2021 season. Renault currently has Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard racing in Formula 2.

shares
comments
How Sainz went from the fringes to Ferrari in two years

Previous article

How Sainz went from the fringes to Ferrari in two years

Next article

The car that ended Nigel Mansell’s F1 career

The car that ended Nigel Mansell’s F1 career
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Luke Smith
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021