Renault already considering Ricciardo replacement after 2020

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Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has suggested the team could be changing their line-up again in 2021.

After the summer break, it was confirmed that Esteban Ocon would be joining the team alongside Daniel Ricciardo on a two-year deal, following a year as reserve driver at Mercedes.

At Monza, a press conference was called between Abiteboul, Ocon and Mercedes' Toto Wolff to talk about the deal, in it though the Renault chief suggested their next new driver will be promoted from within and perhaps sooner than most think.

“We’re investing in young drivers in our academy and we hope and expect to have possibly one driver from that academy in 2021," he said.

“It’s a shift in dynamic, to be ready and welcoming young drivers in our line-up. It’s not something I would have been capable of doing two years ago but with more maturity in the team, we can now envisage that.

“[Having Ocon] will be a good test to see if we’re capable of also managing that as it’s a different kind of management, managing someone in his 20s, or 22, to in his 30s, that’s different.”

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Ricciardo's current contract with Renault indeed expires at the end of 2020 meaning the door would be open for him to move elsewhere.

At the same time though, Abiteboul claimed their new pairing is one they believe can bring success back to the French manufacturer.

“It was the plan when we made the decisions, but we know also much more has to come for this to happen, racing top teams like Mercedes and others so we can fight for the win,” he said.

“It takes time, let’s be honest, it takes more time than a lot of people would want, than we want. We are in a world that is expecting short-term delivery of result and performance, but these teams are extremely well established, well-funded and extremely well organised, so it’s very difficult to make your way into the top three.

“I do believe Esteban can help us with that, we will continue to balance what we do for 2020 and 2021, there is such a change for 2021 that we have to think carefully about how we split our resources.

"Esteban’s aware of that, it’s no different to lots of teams anywhere but it will give us the opportunity to learn, to properly work together in 2020, so we can be in full attack mode in 2021.”