Having made the Australian one of the highest paid drivers on the grid, the disappointment was understandable when he opted to replace Carlos Sainz at Woking.
Nonetheless, team boss, Cyril Abiteboul insists that both his drivers will be given total parity and that preference will not be given to Esteban Ocon over his Australian teammate.
“There won’t be any preferential treatment between Esteban and Daniel on the back of his decision, because it’s not the policy of the team,” Abiteboul told reporters today ahead of next week’s season opener.
“It’s not also a necessity,” he continued, “let’s be honest, I’m not fighting for any championship as we stand right now so it would make absolutely no sense, and Daniel will be fully involved in the development process of the car.”
However, Renault‘s attitude isn’t entirely for altruistic reasons, for the new token system which strictly limits what the teams can change for next year, means that McLaren won’t glean any useful information from its new driver as the Woking team will need to use its allocation on adapting its (2020) car for the switch to the Mercedes power unit.
“With the way that the structure is, that the cars are more or less frozen between this year and next year, and also McLaren will have to use all their tokens on the pure chassis/engine integration, so no performance development there, that will give us the opportunity to work extremely normally with Daniel,” said Abiteboul.
“The only thing is he won’t be exposed to 2022,” he added. “But frankly he would not be anyway, because it’s still a bit far away from a driver perspective, even though a substantial part of our workforce is already on to 2022.”