Cape Town - Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has conceded that the team
could have handled speculation about their 2018 driver line-up better.
Carlos Sainz will be alongside Nico Hulkenberg next season
with Jolyon Palmer to be released at the end of the season.
Robert Kubica was strongly linked with a return to Renault
given the testing he did with the team, and Abiteboul believes those events
perhaps put the spotlight on the team a little too much.
"I'm not confirming [wanting Sainz this year] and it's
not happening," Abiteboul told Sky Sports F1.
"There has been this speculation since Montreal. Maybe
we haven't handled the speculation well.
"It's true we wanted to try something with Robert
[Kubica], and were thinking about next year. But try and see it from Renault's
"We are coming a bit late from the driver contracts and
we had to think outside the box and try and create these options that were
maybe not available initially.
"And maybe with these repeated driving occasions with
Robert we have created such speculation."
Palmer claimed that he learned of his Renault exit online,
but Abiteboul is adamant that all drivers are treated fairly and that the team
are helping him secure his next role.
"I think it's never easy to handle a separation,"
"Obviously we had to make a decision but it's happening
every season that unfortunately relationships are not extending.
"But we are doing all that we can to help Jolyon think
about his future - which may be in Formula 1 or may be somewhere else.
"Although it's a big group, we have involvement in lots
of sports and I can guarantee that we want to be very fair to any drivers that
are driving for Renault."