PARIS (Dispatches) -The French car manufacturer’s contract with Ricciardo runs out at the end of this year, and the Australian has already been strongly linked with a move to Ferrari should Vettel not stay there.
Both Renault and Ricciardo are hoping that performance uplift this season will be enough for them to extend their partnership, though, but nothing is set in stone.
Speaking to the ‘La Grille’ program on Canal+, Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul was not dismissive of a swoop for Vettel, but equally did not suggest it would be his priority.
"I don’t want to say no, as he is a great driver, and a great champion,” said Abiteboul when asked if the four-time champion was an option. "We worked together on the engine side and we won together.
"[But] I rather aspire to work with tomorrow’s drivers than yesterday’s. It really is very difficult to sum it up like that, so please don’t sum it up like that about Sebastian.
"Still, we also have a driver academy, with drivers who might come out of it in 2021 or 2022. We need to keep this in mind, as we created this academy in 2016 with the goal of having a driver graduate to F1 in 2021.
"Now 2021 is coming, we have to acknowledge it. Typically, there’s Christian Lundgaard. He’s an option among others: he’s got his F2 season to do, we’ve got our own season to do with Daniel.”