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Ricciardo and Renault have ‘shared appetite’

Mat Coch

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Monday 11th May, 2020 - 9:42am

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Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo and the Renault F1 Team have a “shared appetite” to improve on the results of 2019 as talk of a new contract ramps up.

Ricciardo is in the final year of an initial two-year contract with the French manufacturer.

Team boss Cyril Abiteboul has previously admitted that negotiations had not yet begun.

The Frenchman has not confirmed whether that situation has changed but did reveal that typically such negotiations would be beginning at about this time.

“In a normal season, it is clearly around May and June you start having discussions,” Abiteboul told the official Formula 1 website.

“It’s an unusual season to a certain degree.

“It’s postponed a number of things, but having said that we have to keep planning for the future, so that is part of the things which are taking place with Daniel and others.

“We’re not desperate to have a resolution about that but for sure we’re planning.”

Ricciardo is one of 14 drivers out of contract at the end of the season.

The includes the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, and both McLaren drivers.

Renault also has its own Academy programme, where Formula 2 racers Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou are its most advanced participants.

Earlier this year it added teenager Oscar Piastri to its books, the Australian set to compete in the FIA Formula 3 Championship this season.

With options available within its own ranks and on the current F1 grid, the obvious question is whether Renault wants to continue with Ricciardo.

In 2019 he netted a best result of fourth at the Italian Grand Prix, while qualifying on the second row in Canada was another highlight.

He ended the year ninth in the Drivers’ Championship with 54 points, versus the 37 obtained by the now-dumped Nico Hulkenberg.

“It’s strange because I have to answer that question to myself, to you, before we have even started our season number two together,” Abiteboul admitted when asked if he wanted to continue with Ricciardo.

“That’s the difficulty.

“We do feel it is a journey that has much more to offer than what it offered last year.

“We all know last year was a bit of mixed feelings, mixed results, to many degrees.

“We feel we can do better, which is why certainly there is a shared feeling we should do more.

“Whether that leads to an extension of the contract, time will tell.

“There is certainly a shared appetite, if my understanding is correct.”

The 2020 Formula 1 season is currently expected to get underway on July 3-5 at the Red Bull Ring, an event set to be held behind closed doors.

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