JULY 20, 2016
Renault admits 2017 driver lineup still open
Renault has admitted that its driver lineup for 2017 remains totally open.
Reports have suggested Jolyon Palmer is in danger of losing his seat at the newly reformed French works team, while teammate Kevin Magnussen is more confident of staying next year.
But neither are under contract for 2017 and team spokesman Andy Stobart told the Danish newspaper BT that the lineup will remain unknown for some time.
"It's too early for us to start discussing what should happen next year," he reportedly said.
"We are more focused on this year and the rest of the season. We are only halfway, so it's too early," he added.
"There is nothing definite on our part, and the rest is just speculation," said Stobart, amid speculation Esteban Ocon is in the running for a seat, as may be Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne.
It is believed Renault has an option to keep Dane Magnussen on board for 2017, but Stobart would not be drawn on when it expires.
"It's a private matter between us and Kevin Magnussen," he insisted.
But BT correspondent Peter Nygaard said F1 options typically expire around September, which would tie into reports that other teams plan to look at their own lineups around that time.
"Normally these options are settled between September and October," he said. "If it gets later than that, Kevin ends up in the same situation he was in at McLaren.
"But I do think Renault is very concentrated on improving the team, including recruiting up to 100 people at Enstone, for next season. On top of that, there are a number of drivers who have not resolved their contractual situation," Nygaard added.