Cyril Abiteboul has suggested that Renault Racing will look at lesser known options to replace Ricciardo, with Zhou and Lundgaard in the fray.
After Daniel Ricciardo confirmed he would be leaving for McLaren from 2021, there have been numerous options to replace him at Renault. Fernando Alonso was tipped to make a sensational return to the team where he had this best years. Sebastian Vettel’s name is also doing the rounds as he will be quitting Ferrari after the end of the 2020 season.
Rookie replacements for Daniel Ricciardo at Renault
Instead, Renault F1 Boss Cyril Abiteboul has named two rookie drivers to replace the departing Australian. Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard are “fantastic options”, according to Abiteboul. He is eager to see how these two Renault junior drivers perform in this year’s F2 Championship.
“We want to see what’s the pace of Guanyu Zhou, what’s the pace of Christian (Lundgaard), their competitiveness. They could be fantastic options,” he told Motorsport.com.
How close did Daniel Ricciardo come to joining Ferrari?
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 1, 2020
“As we speak now, it’s a bit audacious to think that, but who knows?
“With one more season of F2 for them, it could be the right thing to do.
“And that’s typically the sort of thing that we could not decide when the decision had to accelerate with Daniel.”
He had earlier expressed disappointed with Riccairdo announcing his departure to McLaren even before this season saw the green light. He also clarified they are not in a hurry to make the change for 2021.
Zhou believes in himself
Zhou has his mind set on becoming China’s first F1 driver.
“No one from China has achieved such results, I think.
“I made the Chinese national anthem play in European F3 before and now we have seen the Chinese national flag flying in F2. I really feel proud about it as it shows what Chinese people are capable of.
— Autoweek Racing (@Autoweek_Racing) June 18, 2020
“What really matter is that result speaks itself in any sport. As long as you have the result, people will know Chinese [drivers] could do well in motor racing.”
He finished 7th last season in F2 with 5 podium finishes. He would be chasing his first F2 win this season.
“My goal is to finish the season in the top three – top four will be fine – as long as I could get the points I need for a super license,” he said.
“Should any chance arise, I don’t want to miss it.”
Who do you think will replace Daniel Ricciardo at Renault?