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Renault won’t rush into decision on 2017 F1 driver line-up

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Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul says he will not rush into making a decision about its driver line-up for the 2017 season as speculation continues to swirl.

Renault returned to F1 as a constructor in 2016 after buying out Lotus, with its first season back on the grid chiefly about rebuilding and restructuring.

2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer and former McLaren F1 driver Kevin Magnussen joined Renault for 2016, but both have struggled for form thanks to the limitations of the R.S.16 car.

Renault is widely perceived to hold the key to the 2017 driver market, with Force India’s Sergio Perez and Manor’s Esteban Ocon being linked to a seat at Enstone.

Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Abiteboul said that Renault would not rush into a decision for 2017 after reportedly delaying any call on its line-up.

“I think we’ve got some options. Frankly we are not rushing into making a decision,” Abiteboul said.

“It’s an important decision. It’s likely that the drivers we will be choosing for next year will be really the first drivers that we chose as Renault [and] will be here for a couple of seasons.

“So I think we are not taking that decision lightly. It’s good that we have options and we are trying to make the decision that is as much informed as possible and we are in a position to sort of take our time and look at what’s going on around us.

“So it’s an important decision but we are not rushing into anything.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.