Renault F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has made it clear that current drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer remain in contention for a 2017 seat, despite the outfit’s overtures for a ‘charismatic leader’.
Renault is yet to announce its driver line-up for the following season, but has shown interest in Force India star Sergio Perez and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. Esteban Ocon, Renault’s former reserve driver, is also in frame for 2017.
With the French manufacturer looking clearly beyond its current drivers, many have suggested Magnussen and/or Palmer will be left without a drive next year.
However, Abiteboul says that both Magnussen and Palmer are very much in the mix - and the team is keen to nurture its own version of Sebastian Vettel, than hiring a star driver.
"Hopefully people realise that with our current line-up, we are not writing them off,’’Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
"We will have to see how the season is panning out, but they are doing a good job with the hardware they are given, frankly.
"Having a leader [for the future], we will need that – but when Red Bull made the choice of Vettel, he was not a world champion and Red Bull was not a world champion – they grew together.
"Years later, in hindsight, it is an obvious association, but actually in the early days it was not at all the situation.
"If there is a model I would say we are more towards that model of maybe finding the Vettel of tomorrow, growing together, maybe become champion together.
"Buying an existing world champion, I don't think this is an absolute necessity in modern F1."
by Rachit Thukral