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Abiteboul on Ricciardo exit: ‘unity and commitment’ critical

Daniel Herrero

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Friday 15th May, 2020 - 7:43am

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Cyril Abiteboul

Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul has expressed the “critical values” of mutual “unity and commitment” in comments which do not mention the outgoing Daniel Ricciardo by name.

Ricciardo will exit the Renault F1 Team at the end of his initial two-year contract to join the McLaren F1 Team from 2021.

The move has been confirmed as part of a domino effect which has seen McLaren incumbent Carlos Sainz sign with Scuderia Ferrari to take the seat which will be vacated by Sebastian Vettel.

Renault’s statement in response read, “Within the unprecedented context of the 2020 season, discussions held with Daniel Ricciardo concerning a renewal of his contract beyond the end of 2020 have not been successful.”

A brief comment from Abiteboul followed.

“In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team,” he said.

“I am confident that the 2020 season will allow us to accomplish even more together.

“Our ambitions and the strategy of Renault DP World F1 Team remain unchanged.”

Ricciardo left Red Bull Racing, with which he had achieved seven Formula 1 race wins, for the Renault factory team at the end of 2018.

The Australian did so in the knowledge that his new squad was still in a rebuilding phase following a decline in the period when not owned by Renault.

However, Ricciardo failed to grace the podium last year and Renault was beaten to fourth in the constructors’ championship by McLaren, which is presently its engine customer but will change to Mercedes power in 2021.

Abiteboul had an eye on 2021, when sweeping regulatory changes were to take effect, as the time when he hoped Renault’s development would pay off.

However, those new rules have been pushed back a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

F1 is targeting a belated start to the 2020 season with races at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on the weekends of July 4-5 and 11-12.

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