Low Expectations for 2020 Means Renault Risk Ricciardo Departure – Alain Prost

by Paul Hensby

Alain Prost says the Renault F1 Team has low expectations on what they can achieve in 2020, and as a result, they put themselves at risk of losing Daniel Ricciardo as their lead driver.

Prost, a non-executive director at Renault, says its form alone in 2020 will not be enough to keep hold of Ricciardo, who is starting his second year of an initial two-year contract with the Enstone-based squad after opting to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing at the end of 2018.

2021 is where Renault hopes to make the leap up to the front of the field when the new aerodynamic regulations come into effect, and it is that vision that Prost hopes Ricciardo will see that will see the Australian extend his time with the team.

“For sure this year, we have to say the truth,” Prost is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com during the Renault launch.  “We don’t have a high expectation about this year, so it’s a shame for Daniel, the second year with not a lot but it is going to be better.

“I think it’s going to be more his perception of what we could do for 2021, and also being realistic about the offers he is going to have from other teams.

“He will decide by himself, but we will talk very soon. We don’t have everything in our hands, that’s for sure.”

Renault Must Deliver ‘A Better Car’ for Ricciardo in 2020 – Cyril Abiteboul

Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul says it will be important for Renault to prove to Ricciardo that they can build a better car in 2020 than they did in his opening year with the team, and he hopes the first signs of this can be shown in pre-season testing next week.

Ricciardo and Renault failed to finish on the podium in 2019 whereas the likes of the McLaren F1 Team and Scuderia Toro Rosso (now Scuderia AlphaTauri) did achieve top three results, something the team will be looking to rectify in 2020.

“I think the main difficulty will be timing, I guess, for obvious reasons,” said Abiteboul.  “You want to have a quick decision regarding his future, but I think what we also need is a little bit of time to see how we are developing as a team and how we are working together and what we are capable of delivering.

“Because let’s be honest, together we failed to deliver the expected results last year.  So hopefully we can we can do better. But the first thing I think he will want is to see if we are capable of providing him a better car, because frankly if you’re not capable of doing that this year, why would we next year? And I completely understand that.

“So, the first way to check is, you know, in the next few weeks to see if the car is indeed better, and if the priorities that we had set for our self over the winter, have been addressed successfully.”

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