Ricciardo sees move from Red Bull as low risk as his reward will be bigger at Renault this season
Daniel Ricciardo shocked many when he announced he would leave Red Bull to join Renault in 2019. Ricciardo suffered eight retirements in 2018, and while he lost his temper at times the 29-year-old revealed it was only because he cared about fulfilling his potential.
Yet, now the Australian has admitted he does not expect to win any races this year, with podium finishes also set to become a rarity that is celebrated as vigorously as he has done with race wins in the past.
In 2018’s Australian Grand Prix Ricciardo finished fourth after Verstappen in third, Vettel in second and Hamilton in first. If the 29-year-old does not make inroads this year there is a chance he will be forgotten about.
“There is a chance I will be less in the spotlight,” Ricciardo revealed. “Naturally if you’re not fighting for podiums then that’s how it is.”
“The more I think about it I don’t see it too much of a gamble,” said Ricciardo. “We’re not coming in saying, ‘We’re going to win’ so the expectation and the bar is initially not very high. Whereas at Red Bull every year we built ourselves up, because they’d won in the past, and felt it’s going to happen.
“The risk is being let down every year and if I stayed there the risk was it doesn’t work again and with Honda maybe that doesn’t happen. So the risk of failure is greater than coming here and having the risk of not winning.
“Out of the two options, they both have some risk but with risk comes reward and I feel that because the growth here is potentially a lot bigger, I feel the reward can certainly be bigger here.”
Ricciardo said he will not be measuring himself or his new team against Red Bull this season, and he has already felt he was part of a team that wasn’t content with just finishing fourth.
“It’s certainly not a midfield attitude. It’s like, ‘Let’s attack those top teams,’” he said.
Renault are adamant they have had their best off-season yet, having thrown nearly everything out from last season and started from scratch as they attempt to chase down the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Ricciardo’s former team, Red Bull.
After notching 2 early wins in his final season with Red Bull, Ricciardo’s year unravelled after the mid-season break which in part explains his decision to pursue a clean break and a new seat at Renault. And he will be doing so in a new car that Renault revealed at Renault’s team launch on Tuesday.
Ricciardo will get the first taste of his new car at a closed-door shakedown event at Silverstone on Wednesday. The opening winter test starts in Barcelona next week.