Cape Town - Renault are looking to commit Carlos Sainz to a longer-term
contract with the team but are aware that they are "exposed".
Sainz is on a year-long loan with the Enstone team from Red
Bull, who have shortlisted the Spaniard as a potential replacement for Daniel
Ricciardo should he decide to leave at the end of the season.
But Renault are also keen to bring Sainz fully on board with
Renault and have made an early move to try and achieve that objective.
"We have in my opinion still two great drivers, but
obviously we have a particular situation with Carlos, which is a contract where
we are exposed for next year, and we knew that since day one," Renault
boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
"That's why we need to start thinking way in advance
about what could be the situation.
"And frankly, that is why we have already started
discussion with Carlos about longer term, about what can happen beyond this
year, accepting that it's not completely in his hands nor our hands.
"[It is] not a super comfortable situation to be in,
but we need to accept that we are still playing catch up on many areas and one
of the areas is also driver market, where we still need to try to be more in
control of our future and of our destiny."
Sainz, meanwhile, declared himself happy to be racing for
Renault but would not be drawn on his long-term future.
"I think both [Renault and me] are happy with the
situation," Sainz also told Motorsport.com.
"I am very happy with Renault, I feel privileged to be
part of this brand and it seems that Renault is also interested in being able
to continue with me in the future.
"But I think it is still too early to talk about the
future. We are in the fourth race and it is not yet time to talk about