Cyril Abiteboul says his Renault Sport Formula 1 Team is looking into ways to give their junior drivers opportunities within Formula 1 with their customer teams, much like what goes on with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
Mercedes has placed both Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein in race seats in both 2016 and 2017, while their latest protégé, 2017 GP3 Series champion George Russell, participated in his first two free practice sessions in the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari also have outlets to place their young drivers, at Scuderia Toro Rosso and the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team respectively.
Renault has seven young drivers in their young driver programme, including Jack Aitken, who will race in the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2018, but without a designated ‘B-team’ in the sport, Abiteboul feels it would be difficult to bring them into Formula 1.
“In my opinion, an important element will be how we leverage our engine supplier activity,” said Abiteboul at the 2018 launch of the Renault Sport Academy. “If you look at what Mercedes are doing it is a view that there is a connection between engine strategy and driver development strategy.
“In our case, it has helped us because we had access to Carlos Sainz Jr. off the back of a larger agreement with Red Bull Racing which was continued with what we have done with McLaren.
“There is already a connection but in the future I want this connection being in the favour of the guys coming from the Renault academy.”