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Renault Undecided on Reserve Driver

Reigning Formula E champions Renault e.dams are yet to decide if it will employ a third driver to act as a reserve option for the new season according to Team Director Alain Prost….

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Reigning Formula E champions Renault e.dams is yet to decide if it will employ a third driver to act as a reserve option for the new season, according to team director Alain Prost.

The topic of an official reserve driver is currently being discussed internally by the team.

This is largely down to the legacy of last season when Pierre Gasly was drafted in to the team at short notice. A solution for Sebastien Buemi to race in New York could not be found due to his clashing FIA World Endurance Championship commitment in Germany that weekend.

An official reserve driver is also being considered because of the upcoming Season Five testing, which is scheduled to begin with the new generation Formula E car next spring.

“We have thought about this last year but we were in a very difficult situation,” Prost told e-racing365.

“This was not correct in my opinion because that clash for Seb [Buemi] could have been avoided. I have already been clear on how much feel about this bad situation.

“We have no clash this year as far as we know. So is it good to have a third driver now?

“We are discussing about this at the moment. My first opinion is that we don’t have a lot of testing and it is always better to let the drivers have as much time in the car as possible.

“Our drivers do the tests better than any test driver would because you have to understand all the processes. This is a very complicated car with complex technology.”

With a reduced race count for the WEC, as it enters its ‘Super Season’ transition period in 2018 and 2019, both Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost will have less on-track commitments than in previous seasons.

However, should Renault choose to nominate a third driver, it could look to the roster of drivers competing for its affiliated DAMS junior operation in GP2 and GP3.

Of these drivers, Oliver Rowland already has a small amount of Formula E experience, having driven in the Season Two round at Punta del Este for the Mahindra team while deputizing for the injured Nick Heidfeld.

“Maybe later on we could have someone but at the moment we are still thinking [about it],” said Prost.

“The transition between Season Four and Season Five has all been done between our two drivers who work very well together.

“For the development it will take time and maybe we are going to lose something if we do not have the continuity and have the same drivers in the car.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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