Renault Formula 1 chief Frederic Vasseur wants to build the French marque’s future success around a driver with “emotional leadership” as speculation about its 2017 line-up continues to swirl.
Renault returned to F1 as a constructor after six years away in 2016, pairing ex-McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen with 2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer.
After taking over the financially-ailing Lotus operation at the end of last year, Renault has been focusing on rebuilding so far in 2016, scoring just six points in the opening 12 races of the season.
Speculation is rife about Renault’s planned driver line-up for 2017. Sergio Perez has been linked with a move away from Force India, while 19-year-old Esteban Ocon is also tipped for a seat following a half-season stint with Manor.
Speaking to the official F1 website, Vasseur said Renault was looking for a driver around whom the team could be built, citing examples such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
“If you look at the success stories of the past, success was always built around a driver,” Vasseur said.
“Schumacher and Ferrari, Vettel and Red Bull, Lewis and Mercedes, and also Alonso and Renault in the past – so the driver is important.
“A driver is not only about performance, but about being capable of leading a team.
“Right now we have more or less a thousand people in the team, if you take Viry and Enstone together, and that needs some sort of emotional leadership – and that is the job for a driver!
“We need a driver who is super-motivated and able to super-motivate everybody else.”