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'Unity and commitment are critical' say Renault as Ricciardo split announced

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 and Renault

Renault have begun their search for a new driver in 2021, after Daniel Ricciardo decided he did not want to continue with the French manufacturer’s project beyond the end of the 2020 campaign and has instead signed for McLaren.

The Australian joined Renault from Red Bull for the start of last year in what was considered one of the biggest shocks in F1 driver market history.

But he encountered a difficult first campaign, which was plagued by unreliability with his team dropping a place to fifth in the constructors’ championship.

Discussions have been on-going about a renewal, with Renault keen to retain their star driver and continue their journey but it is clear Ricciardo did not share that same dream.

READ MORE: McLaren swoop for Daniel Ricciardo as Carlos Sainz replacement for 2021

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IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW: Daniel Ricciardo opens up ahead of 2020 season, before he decided to the leave Renault

“In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team,” said Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul as the team confirmed talks with Ricciardo “have not been successful”.

“I am confident that the 2020 season will allow us to accomplish even more together. Our ambitions and the strategy of Renault DP World F1 Team remain unchanged,” he added, in a statement that notably did not mention Ricciardo by name.

ANALYSIS: Why Ricciardo has gambled his future on McLaren - rather than staying at Renault

Now all eyes will be on Renault to see who they decide to put alongside Esteban Ocon, who has a contract up until the end of 2021. Could it be a return of Nico Hulkenberg? Or, while perhaps unlikely, Fernando Alonso?

Meanwhile, Ricciardo said in a Tweet that he was "grateful for my time with [the team]" adding, "My next chapter isn’t here yet, so let’s finish this one strong."

More on the latest driver moves

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