No Renault freeze for McLaren-bound Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo in preseason testing in Barcelona
Daniel Ricciardo in preseason testing in Barcelona

(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo will not be locked out of Renault's car development program in 2020, team boss Cyril Abiteboul insists.

Ricciardo will move from the French works team to McLaren for 2021, but Abiteboul said he is not worried the Australian will take secrets with him.

"McLaren has to use both of its development tokens to switch from Renault to Mercedes engines, so we don't have to worry about 2021," Abiteboul told Auto Motor und Sport.

"We have a mission and we continue to tackle it together."

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said he thinks moving to Mercedes "will make up for the loss" of having to use up the very limited scope for 2021 car development.

To cut costs, the token system was introduced so that most of the 2020 cars are 'frozen' for 2021, ahead of the major regulation changes for 2022.

But for now, teams have been developing fervently since the end of the long factory shutdown period.

"We will have the upgrades that we planned for Vietnam, Zandvoort and Barcelona on the car in Austria," confirmed Renault's Esteban Ocon.

"We will have to collect a lot of data in practice," he added.

Abiteboul defends what is a particularly aggressive development program for Renault.

"We had to make difficult decisions, but we stick to our plan," he said.

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