Renault boss 'disappointed' by quick Ricciardo exit, will take time to pick replacement

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Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has admitted his "disappointment" at Daniel Ricciardo's quick decision to leave after 2020.

In the wake of Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari agreeing to split after this year, it soon emerged that Carlos Sainz would be leaving McLaren to join the Scuderia with the Australian switching to the Woking-based squad.

Ricciardo's exit comes after completing just one season at the French manufacturer following his move from Red Bull and confirming his exit, Abiteboul wasn't exactly gracious either, suggesting the 30-year-old didn't show enough faith or commitment in Renault.

But while it may appear Ricciardo bailed out at the first opportunity, the Frenchman does think the actions of McLaren & Ferrari played a part.

“First it’s important to remember that we have one year, one season to do together, and we expect more out of that season than from last season, that is for sure,” he told before reflecting on the events of a fortnight ago.

“But I’m a bit disappointed because I don’t think that you can build anything without stability. That goes for drivers, but frankly, that’s also true for the rest of the organisation.

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“We had a lot of changes last year: 70 per cent of our staff have seen a change of management or structure to their department. A new technical director, a new head of aero, new engineering director.

“All of that has happened in the last 12 months with lots of change.

“I would have liked to see that result of that, because we know that there is a bit of latency, before going into the action of a driver change and driver discussion.

“And then I’m a bit surprised about the activism of two particular F1 teams, who have pushed Daniel to sort of rush the decision."

The Renault chief though doesn't want to dwell on Ricciardo too much, insisting the focus will now be on making Ricciardo regret his move.

“We decided not to bend over this timing and to stick to our plan. Our plan and our priority is to make a better car," he said.

“If we had had a better car last year, probably you will not be asking me this question and we know that if we have a better car we’ll be able to attract any driver in the future, so that’s our focus.

“The new regulations, the new deal [rules], have been our priority. Securing the future of F1 has been our priority. He’s made his decision, we’re moving on.”

As for the decision on who will replace Ricciardo, names like Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas have been mentioned.

Abiteboul though explained the process that will lead to that call.

“Typically the competitiveness of the car is a representation of the competitiveness of the team and the new people that we have. Therefore the priorities of where we want to put our money is an indication that I want to have before I rush any decision," he said.

“Our position is more about taking the time to be properly informed because probably the next decision on drivers will be an important one and most probably the driver who will join us for 2021 will stay for 2022.

"I think that there has been the first sort of domino of drivers. I expect that there may be another one, but not before a number of months.

“So we think of ourself as part of this second movement and nothing in between.”

Daniel Ricciaedo Renault F1