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New driver must 'buy into Renault's project', says Abiteboul as Alonso denies rumour

Ben Issatt

July. 03, 2020

Renault says they need a driver for 2021 who can "buy in" to the team's project as they confirm talks with various options.
The French manufacturer has been left a vacant seat for next season following Daniel Ricciardo's decision to bail out after just two years at Enstone and join McLaren alongside Lando Norris.
Ever since the Australian made that announcement, team boss Cyril Abiteboul has been a little critical suggesting Ricciardo didn't have the faith in Renault's effort to return to the front in Formula 1.
And despite the variety of names being mentioned, ranging from world champions like Sebastian Vettel to Academy members like Guanyu Zhou, it is the commitment that Abiteboul is looking for.
“We need first a driver for each car!" he told Motorsport Week. “We need a quick driver, we need a talented driver, and we need a driver that can understand and buy into Renault’s project.
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“We are very clear about the nature of our team, we are a bit of a unique team in the Formula 1 landscape, at the same time very loyal to Formula 1 but also a young team, still in the making with some struggles, in particular last year.
“We need someone capable to understand all of that and understand the value of all the work, effort and ethic we are putting into that.
“I’m not saying that Daniel has not understood that – that is absolutely not what I mean, I’m talking about the future."
As for those at the top of Renault's list of replacement, Abiteboul wouldn't be drawn.
“We are talking to a few names, some big names, some lesser known names," he replied.
"We are taking the time and we are again making sure there is a good alignment between what we are and what any driver is looking to get in a team like ours.”
Of course, the one name that is still being floated is Fernando Alonso and this week a report in Spain's Cadena SER claimed the double world champion had already agreed a deal, which was set to be announced within days.
“Man, at noon they said a team had said no to Alonso, at night I will race in that same team in 2020," he tweeted sarcastically in response.
“I will tell you and inform you that I am going to run the 500 miles (Indianapolis 500).
“I think you have to consider who laughs at you but I will be here when I have something to report.”
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