Cyril Abiteboul says Renault did not consider offering Fernando Alonso a race seat in 2019 as they could not guarantee the two-time world champion a car capable of winning grands prix. Daniel Ricciardo has taken the plunge with the French team, to partner Nico Hulkenberg next year.
Alonso has confirmed that he will not race in F1 next year after growing tired of waiting for McLaren's revival to bear fruit - a switch to IndyCar likely awaits the Spaniard in his pursuit of the 'Triple Crown'.
A return to Renault for a third spell had been mooted earlier in the year - Alonso won 17 grands prix and, of course, his two world championships with the French team across two spells.
But Abiteboul says an inability to match the veteran's expectations meant an offer was pointless.
"Frankly, despite the fact that I have huge respect for Fernando, who is probably one of the best drivers in the world, the answer is no," Abiteboul told Crash.net.
"We could feel that he is at the point in his career where he wants a car that is immediately capable of going in for wins. That's what he's expecting, or there is going to be more frustration.
"We are not in that position. We need to have drivers who can understand the project, who can buy into a support the project on a long-term basis.
"I don't think this is what Fernando was looking for. So the short answer is no."
Ricciardo has accepted Renault's projection that they will challenge for race wins in 2020 and championships the following year and Abiteboul hopes that they can deliver for the Australian.
"If you look at the three options that we had, I must say, doing more years with Carlos, going with Esteban, or Daniel, all three options were all very valid, and would almost have been equally satisfied with all three options," Abiteboul said.
"Obviously Daniel has a bit of 'wow' effect, because it was not really what people were expecting. But we are not choosing our drivers just to create a wow effect for one day.
"The wow effect will come if we are capable of winning races together in the next two years."