Updated IndyCar schedule for 2020: Dates, start times, TV channels for all races after coronavirus delay

Many sports leagues were forced to pause their seasons when the coronavirus pandemic shut down live events globally in mid-March, yet the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series never had a chance to begin. But the 2020 IndyCar schedule, which was supposed to begin March 15, is back on track for (almost) a full season of racing.

The updated IndyCar schedule for 2020 features 14 races, and it will end where it was originally set to begin, on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

“Our teams and athletes are ready to get back on track and will deliver world-class action at Texas Motor Speedway and the Racing Capital of the World,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president & CEO Mark Miles said upon the release of IndyCar’s modified schedule for 2020, referencing what had become the new season-opener set for June 6. “We appreciate the opportunity to begin our season during these unprecedented times, and I’m confident we’ll put on a great show.”

When IndyCar announced its updated 2020 schedule a few weeks ago, it noted to more cancellations for a total of six canceled races this season. However, IndyCar has added doubleheaders at Iowa, Laguna Seca and Indianapolis to is 2020 schedule to make up for some of the lost races.

Below is the complete updated IndyCar schedule for 2020, plus a list of the races that have been canceled and those that have been rescheduled.

Updated IndyCar schedule for 2020: Dates, start times, TV channels

The updated IndyCar schedule for 2020 was released May 21 with the previously announced season-opener set for June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Below is the complete schedule (TV info via NBC sports):

IndyCar schedule 2020: Canceled races

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

The race at Barber Motorsports Park was wiped off the slate when IndyCar canceled all races originally scheduled for the month of April. From the track: “This decision was reached after carefully consulting with the NTT IndyCar Series, Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham City officials and State of Alabama public health professionals.”

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

This race was canceled on March 18 after the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach had attempted to work out a new date on the IndyCar schedule.

“Over the past few days, we have actively pursued the possibility of rescheduling the Acura Grand Prix to a later date this year with the City of Long Beach, the Convention Center, the NTT IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and our other race sanctioning bodies,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association. “We are very disappointed that we were unable to put something together for all our loyal fans and valued clients, but trying to reassemble all the elements that have made the Long Beach event such a success does not appear feasible for 2020. As a result, our attention will now be focused on planning the 46th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16-18, 2021.”

AutoNation IndyCar Challenge at Circuit of the Americas

This was the third and final race originally scheduled for the month of April that was canceled by IndyCar in mid-March.

Detroit Grand Prix

The race at Belle Isle Park was canceled April 6 after continuous logistical and scheduling challenges.

“The Grand Prix is a very important event for Belle Isle Park, the City of Detroit, the City of Windsor and all of southeast Michigan. It is certainly disappointing that it won’t take place this year, but the health and safety of everyone at the Grand Prix is always our top priority,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix. “We looked at every possible scenario to reschedule the race, but all of them would have been too disruptive to the hundreds of fall events that will take place on Belle Isle. Some events, like weddings, family reunions and festivals, have been scheduled a year in advance and it would not be right to alter anyone’s plans. We look forward to the Grand Prix returning in 2021 as we continue our mission of revitalizing Belle Isle Park and providing significant support to the Belle Isle Conservancy, while helping to inject millions of dollars in economic benefit to our cities and our region.”

Indy Richmond 300

This would have been Richmond Raceway’s first IndyCar event since 2009. From the track: “IndyCar and Richmond have worked closely with public health officials, medical experts and state and federal officials throughout the development of a revised NTT IndyCar Series schedule to ensure the safety of competitors, staff and the local community. The IndyCar race weekend originally scheduled for June 26-27 has been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Honda Indy Toronto

The race at Exhibition Place was canceled May 21. From the event’s site: “We are extremely disappointed, and will miss the incredible fans who have supported us, but the safety of fans, participants, volunteers, staff, partners and media will always remain our top priority. Toronto remains open to exploring all possibilities moving forward as the global situation continues to evolve.”

IndyCar schedule 2020: Rescheduled races

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

This season’s season finale will now be the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, Oct. 25, a new date announced after the March 15 race in St. Pete was postponed due to COVID-19.

“The streets of St. Petersburg will make for a fitting and action-packed finale in a venue and city that our entire IndyCar community holds dear,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said. “We extend our thanks and gratitude to Mayor Kriseman, Green Savoree and Firestone for working with us to find a new date for the event. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend of IndyCar action, and I know our drivers will have race day in St. Pete circled on their calendars.”

GMR Grand Prix (Indy road course)

The GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, July 4 at the IMS road course is now part of a historic doubleheader with a NASCAR Xfinity race later in the day. The NASCAR Cup Series also will race on the IMS oval the following day.

IndyCar also added a second Indianapolis road course race this season, as the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix is scheduled for Oct. 3.

Indy 500

The “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” was rescheduled back in March from its traditional, Memorial Day weekend place on the calendar.

“Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said. “This August, we’ll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. We’re grateful for the patience of our fans as we’ve navigated this situation, and we extend our thanks to NBC for its terrific partnership and diligent work to maximize broadcast coverage with this new schedule.”

REV Group Grand Prix (Road America)

The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America was rescheduled from June 21 to July 11-12 so it could become a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader. 

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

This race was moved up a week because of the schedule changes for the Indy 500 events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later in the month. 

Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (Gateway)

Like the race at Mid-Ohio, the event at World Wide Technology Raceway also was moved to accommodate the new Indy 500 schedule.

Grand Prix of Portland

According to the race’s official site, “this shift is in support of the NTT IndyCar Series’ efforts to run as many of its points championship races as possible in 2020. … This rescheduled date is subject to the ongoing guidance and mandates of national, state and local authorities regarding public gatherings. The health and safety of all associated with this event will remain the priority of the Grand Prix of Portland and PIR.”

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Piers Morgan astonished after Hamilton slams silence over George Floyd death

Piers Morgan has praised Lewis Hamilton's "powerful" statement in which the Formula One superstar slammed his sport for staying silent over George Floyd's tragic death.

Floyd, who is black, died in police custody in Minnesota, US, after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

The death in Minneapolis triggered a wave of outrage and violent protests in the United States.

Hamilton, F1's first black world champion, spends much of his time in America and spoke out on the issue on Instagram on Sunday.

"I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice," wrote the Mercedes driver.

"Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white dominated sport. I'm one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone," he added.

"I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can't stand alongside us. Just know I know who you … are and I see you."

On Monday morning, Morgan posted the statement on his Twitter account alongside the caption: "Wow. Powerful by @LewisHamilton."

In a second post, Hamilton added: "I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully. There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change."

Soon after Hamilton's social media posts, several F1 drivers took to their accounts to call for unity against racism.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo, who will cross to McLaren at the end of the season, said Floyd's death was "a disgrace".

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Formula One will kick-start the season with Austrian GP on July 5

Formula One finally gets the green light to kick-start the season behind closed doors with Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 after coronavirus delay

  • Formula One’s delayed season will finally get underway at the start of July 
  • Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 has got the green light to kick-start the season 
  • The Spielberg circuit will also stage another F1 race the following weekend
  • Both of the July races in Austria will be staged without any spectators present 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Formula One’s truncated season will finally get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5.

The season has been heavily delayed by the coronavirus pandemic but is now set to kick off behind closed doors in just over a month’s time.  

The Spielberg circuit has also been given the green light to stage a second race the following weekend.

The Formula One season will finally get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5

Spielberg circuit has also been given green light to stage a second race the following weekend

‘The two Formula One races on July 5 and 12 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators,’ said Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober on Saturday.

He added that the two races had been approved after F1 organisers ‘had presented a complete and professional plan’ to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The F1 season was thrown into chaos with the cancellation of the traditional curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in March only hours before practice was due to begin.

It was one of 10 races either cancelled or postponed, yet F1 boss Chase Carey has insisted that a 15-18 race season is still possible.

Hamilton and Co had been waiting for season to start after it had been delayed by coronavirus

The Dutch Grand Prix was scheduled to take place at the historic Zandvoort circuit on May 3

But Silverstone’s hopes of also staging back-to-back races after Austria are in the balance after the British government insisted that all arrivals in the country undergo a two-week quarantine period.

The 2020 Dutch Grand Prix, which was set to make its glorious return for the first time in 35 years, is the latest race to be pulled from the F1 calendar.

F1 bosses maintain hope that more races can be held without spectators in Europe in the months after the Austrian GP before moving to circuits in Asia, the Middle East and Americas. 

Chase Carey remains hopeful the season can be salvaged and that 15-18 races can be staged


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Green light given to radical F1 overhaul

F1’s big and wide-ranging package of cost-cutting measures – headlined by a tighter budget cap – have been approved to make the sport more sustainable and competitive into the future.

Rubber stamped by the World Motor Sport council on Wednesday, F1 will introduce an $AUD220 million budget cap from next season and – for the first time – an aero development handicap system for the more successful teams.

“Formula 1 wins today,” said McLaren chief Zak Brown. “This is a crucially important moment for our sport.

“F1 has been financially unsustainable for some time, and inaction would have risked the future of F1 and its participants, who are to be commended for resolving this issue collectively and determinedly.”

The main changes in the regulations are:

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown.Source:Getty Images

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F1 had previously agreed to install the sport’s first-ever budget cap from next year with a limit of $265 million, as part of a wider package of technical, sporting and financial rule changes designed to improve the spectacle and give more teams a chance of success.

But the coronavirus crisis, which has seen a number of British-based outfits place sections of their staff on furlough and resulted in F1’s factory shutdown period being brought forward and extended, has accelerated the need for F1 to slash costs.

The grid’s leading teams are currently spending in excess of $AUD300m per season.

Renault, who have also long pushed for cost reductions, said in a statement that the changes “constitute responsible and appropriate responses to the short and long term challenges of Formula 1”.

Having previously agreed to defer the sport’s car-design overhaul by 12 months to 2022 and continue with the still-unraced 2020 cars for next year, F1’s teams and stakeholders have also agreed immediate measures for when this season does begin.

Power unit upgrades will be limited, with test bench use at factories restricted, while all teams will have to adhere to reduced aerodynamic development time.

The FIA also confirmed that a “large list of components” over the 2020-2021 off-season – including the chassis and gearbox – will be frozen, with the token system to only allow for limited modifications.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has won five of the last six Formula 1 championships.Source:AP

For 2021, changes to the plan-view trim and simplification of the floor ahead of the rear tyres will be enforced “in order to moderate the increase of downforce” expected between this season and next.

With the early European events of the new season set to take place without fans in attendance, starting with the planned Austrian GP on July 5, F1’s Sporting Regulations now differentiate and include provisions for “open” and “closed” events.

While the budget cap will still preclude some big-ticket items, such as drivers’ salaries, the introduction of the $220 million limit for team performance for 2021 and subsequent sliding scale is set to prompt significant and long-lasting changes to aspects of teams’ operations.

McLaren are expected to make around 70 redundancies in their F1 team as part of wider cost-cutting measures at the Woking group in preparation for the cap and Andreas Seidl, their team principal, said: “It has been clear to everyone for some time that a budget cap would be applied and we pushed for a lower limit to support a financially sustainable sport.

“It is a big challenge ahead of us.

“Adjusting the way we work and right-sizing the team to this new cap over the next months is a massive and painful task and, highlighted by our news earlier this week, will sadly mean losing team members, but our aim is to be the best-sized and most efficient team in the future.”

This article originally appeared on Sky Sports and was republished with permission

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Formula 1’s cost-cutting proposals approved by FIA

Formula 1’s plan for cost-cutting measures has been approved by the sport’s governing body the FIA.

The changes to the sporting, technical and financial regulations were passed by e-vote at Wednesday’s world motorsport council meeting.

It was “due to the need to reduce costs and safeguard the sport in light of the Covid-19 pandemic”, said a statement.

F1 had previously agreed to introduce a budget cap for the 2021 season, but these new measures go further.

Last Friday teams voted to accept a plan to lower the budget cap to be introduced next year by $30m to $145m (£114m).

This will be reduced again to $140m in 2022 and $135m for the period 2023-25.

This is one of a series of measures aimed at reducing costs and levelling the field, including a research-and-development handicap system.

  • Money, less money and an aerodynamic ‘draft’ system – what are the cost-cutting measures?
  • Could Vettel’s Ferrari frustration lead to retirement from F1?

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Formula 1’s cost-cutting changes, including budget cap, approved

F1’s big and wide-ranging package of cost-cutting measures – headlined by a tighter budget cap – have been approved from 2021 onwards as the sport bids to become more sustantable and competiitve into the future.

Rubber stamped by the World Motor Sport council on Wednesday, F1 will introduce a $145m budget cap from next season and – for the first time – a development handicap system for the more successful teams.

  • McLaren to make redundancies

F1 had previously agreed to install the sport’s first-ever budget cap from next year with a limit of $175m, as part of a wider package of technical, sporting and financial rule changes designed to improve the spectacle and give more teams a chance of success.

But the coronavirus crisis, which has seen a number of British-based outfits place sections of their staff on furlough and resulted in F1’s factory shutdown period being brought forward and extended, has accelerated the need for F1 to slash costs.

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Valtteri Bottas opens doors for Sebastian Vettel to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are out of contract at the end of the season and team principal Toto Wolff has flirted with the prospect of hiring Sebastian Vettel, who is set to leave Ferrari.

Hamilton is expected to pen a blockbuster contract extension as the Silver Arrows attempt to continue their dominance and help the Brit surpass Michael Schumacher’s records.

But Bottas, 30, will struggle to stay on with Mercedes beyond 2020 so he has already begun testing the water with other constructors.

There have been some reports in France suggesting the Finn has enquired about replacing Daniel Ricciardo at Renault.

Ricciardo will move to McLaren in 2021 as Carlos Sainz will step into Vettel’s seat at Ferrari.

However, Sky Sports’ F1 expert Ted Kravitz claims Bottas has also been holding talks with Red Bull.

“Bottas is in conversation with Red Bull,” Kravitz said on Ted’s Notebook.

Max Verstappen has penned a long-term contract with the Austrian team but uncertainty surrounds Alex Albon’s future with the team.

If Bottas was to leave Mercedes then Wolff will have to make a decision on whether to go with his young driver programme or turn to four-time world champion Vettel.

“Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula One team,” Wolff recently said.

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  • Toto Wolff reveals one reason he may sign Sebastian Vettel at Mercedes

“When looking to the future, our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers but naturally we must take this development into consideration.”

The Mercedes boss also opened up to ESPN about his relationship with the German driver.

“We have a friendly relationship [with Vettel],” Wolff explained.

“I am not so surprised about his decision; I think you could see some cracks.

“He’s a great personality, has been one of the personalities of the last 10 years in Formula One, winning four titles and starting this hugely successful spell at Red Bull.

“It’s disappointing for him to see that this dream at Ferrari is being discontinued but it is what it is.

“How the events panned out was fast and different because one must not forget there is still a full season to race.

“And you would rarely take decisions so early in the season because be it for Daniel at Renault, or Carlos at McLaren, or Sebastian at Ferrari, these guys will race the new kit, will see all the innovation, will need to be involved in the development of the vehicle and need to play their team part also in some of the competitions.

“So, yes, these decisions came about quicker than I would have done but it’s interesting to watch, maybe there’s something to learn.”

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Kyle Busch goes into detail on why he punched Joey Logano in the face to start a fight in 2017

The Kyle Busch-Joey Logano fight of 2017 is legendary in part because it’s rare for a NASCAR driver to approach another and, without any exchange of words, get right to business. Jeff Gluck, then the operator of JeffGluck.com and now a NASCAR writer for The Athletic, was in the right place at the right time to perfectly capture the brawl.

Martin Truex Jr. cruised to victory in that Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but a last-lap battle for third in which Logano sent Busch spinning prompted the fight.

“There wasn’t much talking, just a lot of swinging,” Logano told Fox Sports’ Vince Welch when interviewed after the fight.

More than three years later, Gluck got Busch to open up about the fight with Logano and why things escalated so quickly. The question — “So what happened with all that and why did you decide to do that?” — was asked as part of Gluck’s “12 Questions” series with NASCAR drivers.

Below is Busch’s response:

“Well, there’s always been a rivalry of sorts between Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing, and much of that has stemmed from Brad (Keselowski) and myself never liking each other or getting along. Joey and I have always had a pretty decent relationship, and I was one of his biggest supporters at JGR. I was one of the guys talking to Joe (Gibbs) and saying, ‘Man, I don’t think he needs to be let go. I think we should keep him. I think we need to keep him a little longer.’ We were always cordial. I wouldn’t call us friends, but I was better teammates with Joey than I probably was with Denny at that time.

“But then he goes over to Penske and gets Brad in his head and starts to become this cocky Brad No. 2. I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t tolerate that.’ For one, you can’t be this happy-go-lucky, laugh-all-the-time, ha-ha whatever to everyone’s face and then on the racetrack put this different act on. Like who you are is who you are; you can’t be two-faced. I hate two-faced.

“So he started doing a little bit of that and it started bugging me and driving me the wrong way. There were some other instances where he and I were kind of rough on the track. We weren’t really disrespectful, but it was starting to get to that point where it was like, ‘All right man, that probably went a little too far.’

“(At Las Vegas), it was four to go or three to go and Brad, lo and behold, was losing a motor or dropped a cylinder or something in the last few laps. Joey and I were going to be racing for third, essentially.

“There was a moment down the backstretch where Joey and I were side-by-side and we were catching Brad. I was just a little bit enough ahead of Joey where I turned down so I didn’t get stuck behind Brad to where Joey would use Brad as a pick to keep the position on me. I was better than Joey; I had caught him from a straightaway back.

“So I turned down on him a little bit and just barely touched him to make a hole, got the hole and turned into (Turn) 3, and then he just flat-out drives off in there. And I knew he wrecked me. Like I knew — I knew — he drove into me and flat-out wiped me out. On purpose.

“So all of that (past) stuff and then that right there? It was like, ‘OK, you’re done. That’s it.’

“I’ve been in trouble enough times over the years (because) after the race is over, you go and beat each other’s car up and all that stuff. I was like, ‘Well, I’m not going to do that. Fine, I’ll do something else this time. Watch this.’ So I just marched my happy ass down there and whacked him across the head.”

Fair enough.

Logano’s excuse for the wreck at the time, for what it’s worth, was that he was trying to save his car from wrecking.

“He tried to pin me down into the corner underneath Brad, and we about crashed on entry,” Logano said. “And then I was still trying to gather it up by the center. I was going to spin out, so I’m trying to chase it up, and he was there. Obviously nothing intentional, but obviously he thinks that.”

Based on Busch’s account, though, the fight was the product of some deeply rooted issues rather than one on-track incident.

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Belgian GP 1995 Watchalong: Michael Schumacher vs Damon Hill at wet Spa

Don’t miss the latest Sky F1 Watchalong on Wednesday evening as we transport you back to the midst of one the fiercest rivalries in the sport’s history and a controversial, topsy-turvy battle around arguably its best circuit, in the toughest of wet conditions.

It’s the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix from Spa-Francorchamps where Michael Schumacher made history by winning from 16th on the grid, Damon Hill was angered by his great rival’s defensive driving, and Martin Brundle finished on the podium for outsiders Ligier.

  • The latest edition of The Notebook

Hill, Brundle and Johnny Herbert – Schumacher’s Benetton team-mate that day who led the race’s early stages – are reunited to watch back the best (and, in some of their cases, worst) moments from an unforgettable afternoon, with fellow Sky F1 colleague David Croft.

Does Damon still hold the same opinion of Schumacher’s driving a quarter of a century on? How did Johnny go from the lead to seventh place? And just how difficult was it to drive the undulating and fast 4.4-mile circuit in the wet?

Watch along with the Sky F1 team from 7.30pm on Sky F1, YouTube, Facebook, and on this page.

The background to a tense race day

Schumacher, F1’s defending champion, held a reduced 11-point lead over big rival Hill going into the race, the 11th round of the 16-race season.

Hill had halved his title deficit at the previous race in Hungary when the Williams driver’s third win of the year had coincided with a rare race retirement for Schumacher and Benetton.

But the Englishman, already enduring a turbulent year on the track, still had it all on to overcome Schumacher and exact revenge on losing out on the title at the last race in the controversial finish to 1994.

But the cards seemed to be falling in Hill’s favour at Spa, as although he qualified only eighth in wet conditions of qualifying, he was still eight places ahead of Schumacher – whose Saturday never got going after a crash in second practice, which was followed by technical problems with his car.

Schumacher therefore started 16th – he had never previously qualified outside the top 10 in F1, while none had ever won at Spa from lower than 12th on the grid.

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‘Disappointed’ Renault boss vilifies Ricciardo

Renault Sport Formula 1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul has revealed two rival teams attempted to poach star driver Daniel Ricciardo during the coronavirus lockdown.

Earlier this month, it was announced Ricciardo had signed with McLaren for the 2021 season, bringing his brief stint with Renault to a close. However, the Australian driver will need to complete a shortened 2020 season with Renault, with whom he had limited success last year.

Ricciardo managed zero podium finishes in the 2019 season. The 30-year-old finished ninth on the official standings, his worst Formula 1 performance in six years.

Abiteboul said he was particularly “disappointed” with Ricciardo’s departure because it continued the worrying trend of instability and inconsistency within the Renault team. He also reported 70 per cent of Renault’s staff had a change of management or structure to their department over the last 12 months.

Renault Sport F1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul.Source:Getty Images

“It’s important to remember that we have one year, one season to do together, and we expect more out of that season than from last season, that is for sure,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“I’m a bit disappointed because I don’t think that you can build anything without stability. That goes for drivers, but frankly that’s also true for the rest of the organisation.

“We had a lot of changes last year … a new technical director, new head of aero, new engineering director.

“All of that has happened in the last 12 months with lots of change. I would have liked to see that result of that, because we know that there is a bit of latency, before going into the action of a driver change and driver discussion.”

Abiteboul also revealed two rival teams “pushed” Ricciardo to leave Renault during the coronavirus lockdown.

“I’m a bit surprised about the activism of two particular F1 teams, who have pushed Daniel to sort of rush the decision. We decided not to bend over this timing and to stick to our plan. Our plan and our priority is to make a better car,” Abiteboul said.

“If we had had a better car last year, probably you will not be asking me this question. And we know that if we have a better car we’ll be able to attract any driver in the future, so that’s our focus. That’s been our priority.

“The new regulation, the new deal (rules), have been our priority. Securing the future of F1 has been our priority. He’s made his decision, we’re moving on.

“We want to take the time to make sure we make the right decision. I think that there has been the first sort of domino of drivers. I expect that there may be another one, but not before a number of months.”

Daniel Ricciardo’s brief stint with Renaults comes to an end this year.Source:AFP

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Although Abiteboul conceded Renault’s car underperformed in 2020, he believes February’s winter testing yielded “encouraging” improvements.

“Our performance was encouraging, but it’s just winter testing, and frankly, as I’m speaking, I don’t know the competitiveness of our car. We all have our analysis but until we’ve done a proper qualifying run we don’t know,” Abiteboul said.

“Typically the competitiveness of the car is a representation of the competitiveness of the team and the new people that we have. Therefore the priorities of where we want to put our money is an indication that I want to have before I rush any decision.

“Our position is more a position about taking the time to be properly informed, to make sure that we make the right decision, because probably the next decision on drivers will be an important one and most probably the driver who will join us for 2021 will stay for 2022.”

Former Red Bull driver Ricciardo is reportedly facing a pay haircut of around $25 million per-year in his base salary by joining McLaren, according to French reporter Marc Limacher.

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