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Abiteboul admits Renault could swap Sainz for Ocon

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Cyril Abiteboul has admitted that Renault could swap Carlos Sainz for Esteban Ocon in 2019.

The French team has been saying all year that it is happy with Sainz, who is ‘on loan’ for a year from Red Bull.

And boss Abiteboul said keeping the Spaniard is “an option”.

“I agree that we have great drivers, but of course we want to move forward. We need to analyse what is happening now and what we will need in the future.”

Sainz is linked with a move to McLaren, while Abiteboul says Renault has “several options” for the cockpit alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

“One or two years ago our team was not very attractive, but now everyone sees our progress,” he said. “So we have become a very interesting option for drivers.”

Undoubtedly, at the top of the list is Frenchman Ocon. His nationality would fit perfectly, but he is currently a Mercedes driver and placed at Force India.

“If he has an opportunity to be successful at another team or constructor, we wouldn’t want to stand in the way,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff said in Hungary.

Abiteboul commented: “There are rumours about one of the drivers at Force India, or more precisely, the French driver at Force India. I do not deny that the option exists and it is very attractive.

“But he is no less interesting than other options, for example continuing to work with Carlos. We will see,” the Renault boss added.

“Regardless of Red Bull, we must decide what is best for us. Carlos does his job well and he could remain on the team, but we will not make a decision for a few days.”

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