Former Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin will act as the Renault reserve for 2020 should a substitute for either Daniel Ricciardo or Esteban Ocon be required during the season.
The COVID-19 pandemic and stringent testing means there is a possibility a race driver could be forced to miss a session if a member of their car crew tests positive for the virus. That has increased the importance of having a reserve driver immediately available, so Renault has extended its relationship with Sirotkin, who was named as reserve for both the French manufacturer and McLaren last year.
“We’re pleased to welcome Sergey back to the team for this year,” managing director Cyril Abiteboul said. “Given the current circumstances we find ourselves in, we must have plans in place for any situation which might occur. We know Sergey very well and he, likewise, knows the team. We’re looking forward to welcoming Sergey this weekend in Austria.”
The Russian raced for Williams in 2018 after having also been Renault reserve a year earlier, so he brings a solid knowledge of the Enstone team in addition to recent F1 race experience.
“It’s great to be back with Renault DP World F1 Team as reserve driver,” Sirotkin said. “I know the team very well, having been with them throughout the 2019 season. I understand the importance for a team to have a driver ready to fill in quickly should the opportunity arise, especially given the current situation the world is in.
“I’ve been keeping sharp and focused, and I would be well prepared to race a Formula 1 car again. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends at Renault soon.”
While McLaren could also call upon Sirotkin’s services if required last year, this season – the last of the team’s power unit partnership with Renault – the team be able to use Mercedes reserves Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez ahead of a switch to Mercedes engines in 2021.