Renault boss open to Alonso for 2018 but issues warning to future drivers 0

Renault-boss-open-to-Alonso-for-2018-but-issues-warning-to-future-driversThe boss of Renault’s Formula 1 team, Cyril Abiteboul has warned any potential drivers for 2018 – Fernando Alonso included – that they won’t be competing for the Championship.

Following a four-year hiatus, Renault returned to Formula 1 in 2016 but have yet to make any significant impact, finishing 9th overall from 11 teams last year, and lying in 8th after the first three races of 2017.

German driver, Nico Hulkenberg has shown the car has decent one-lap pace, qualifying in 7th at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

His team-mate, Englishman Jolyon Palmer, has struggled for pace and consistency, and it’s rumoured the team are looking for a replacement.

Former World Champion, Fernando Alonso, has repeatedly expressed his discontent at his underperforming McLaren-Honda car and it’s unlikely he’ll renew his current contract when it expires at the end of the current season.

But Renault F1 boss Abiteboul, has warned that anyone they do sign will need to have a fair degree of patience as the team fine-tune their potential.

“I am not here to pull off a one-off coup with someone, I am not living in the past,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“I started working in F1 when Flavio [Briatore] and Fernando were in this group together at Enstone, so I am emotionally touched by this period.

“But equally circumstances have changed, we need also to have a final line-up that will be the right one for the future.

“I don’t think next year we will be in a position to fight for the championship.

“So we need a driver who can support us in this ultimate fight for the championship, but be prepared to wait for the time to come for this to happen.”

Hulkenberg fits this brief, having joined from Force India over the winter saying he was ready for a long-term project.

Alonso meanwhile has said that he has probably run out of time to overtake Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles. Instead he has set his sights on the ‘Triple Crown’ of wins that is made up of the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and 24 hours of Le Mans.

Abiteboul meanwhile, is in no hurry to make a change.

“We need to be fair to our line-up – I need to see how our line-up is performing and delivering,” Abiteboul added.

“Frankly we are just a few races into the season so I don’t want to say anything in relation to one particular driver – so that is the first element.

“Then I think it is so important to be synchronised between drivers – potential expectation and team/car package potential, because there is no point in having a driver that will be so frustrated with the situation.”

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