Daniel Ricciardo is talking the talk and he expects Renault to walk the walk.
The Aussie signed off from the 2019 F1 season with a limp 11th placed finish at last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, bringing to an end a disappointing debut year with the French outfit.
Renault was fifth in the constructors’ championship, 54 points behind McLaren, while Ricciardo ended up ninth in the drivers’ standings.
After making the move from Red Bull at the end of 2018, Ricciardo and Renault barely fired a shot all season but the West Australian is already eyeing a brighter future in 2020.
After he crossed the line in Abu Dhabi, Ricciardo offered a message of support to the team watching on from the garage. “Thank you guys. I really mean it but we will get better next year, a lot better. I really think we will. So let’s get it,” he said over the team radio.
Those aren’t just empty words designed to make the team feel better at the end of a long campaign, Ricciardo insists. He really believes Renault has the ingredients to make meaningful strides forward next year and at least make good on its pre-season goal of being the leader of the midfield pack behind big dogs Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“Putting it bluntly I’m not really a speech maker. I know I like to talk a lot but I’m not gonna say, ‘We’ll do better next year boys’ if I really don’t think we will,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.
“I’m not just going to massage their shoulders and tell them what they want to hear.”
Ricciardo is confident he can elevate his performance and is feeling good about improvements made to the car that will benefit him and incoming teammate Esteban Ocon.
“Even in myself I know I’ll get better, so that’s one variable that I know is going to change for the better. So even that alone will improve,” Ricciardo said.
Daniel Ricciardo is confident Renault has lots to improve on.Source:AFP
“But there are a lot of other things. Speaking with the aero guys, the philosophy of how we’ve designed the car, and especially the front of the car this year, I think they’re pretty confident that that was maybe not the best way to go, looking at some other teams, in order to develop the car.
“We have a bit in hand and we certainly have the resources and the budget to do so. So, yeah, it’s optimism.”
Renault fell short of its ambition to be the “best of the rest” behind F1’s Big Three, but at least it held off a stiff challenge from Toro Rosso to hold onto fifth place in the constructors’ standings, protecting a slim buffer in Abu Dhabi to finish six points ahead of Red Bull’s junior outfit.
“I think that would have been definitely a punch in the guts,” Ricciardo said earlier in the week when asked about what the mood would have been had Toro Rosso jumped ahead in the year’s final race.
“I know financially it is (a blow). And you put the financial loss on to kind of motivation loss, and we didn’t need that.
“So let’s use that as a positive and say, ‘Alright boys, we dodged a bullet now. Let’s avoid all bullets next year and f*** some s*** up!’”
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