Daniel Ricciardo is open, honest and full of self-confidence and now the R.S. 20 may be the package to see him battling towards the front end of the rgid once again. As such, he certainly has his sights set higher in his second year with Renault, having seen fourth place the best of a mixed first season with the French manufacturer. Ricciardo's belief will have been damaged in no way, seeing how he topped the morning session of the final day of last week’s second round of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
As announced by motorsport journalist Luke Smith, Daniel Ricciardo believes that 2020 will bring much more success his way:
“I really still believe there’s a podium there with Renault. When I signed this initial two-year contract, I saw a podium in that signing, if you know what I mean…So that’s really, as far as a position goes, that would be a personal objective for me, something I think is attainable. And as a team, for sure, [to] improve and take the fight to obviously the front guys is our target – but take the fight back from that midfield and take that fourth place.”
In the first season of Netflix’s Drive to Survive there is a metaphor played out onscreen showing Daniel Ricciardo jumping into the ocean as he chooses to ‘take the plunge’ by leaving Red Bull Racing for the legendary French manufacturer Renault. The Perth native is still very much aware of the power that comes from signing with a manufacturer:
“When I got to Renault I looked at the facilities and the facilities are great…It’s not like we’re lacking much at all in terms of that compared to the big teams. So that’s where teamwork comes in. It’s about using each member of the team in the most efficient way, it’s not about having the smartest guy in all of F1 in your team, it’s not about one individual, it’s about everyone coming together.
Nico Hülkenberg probably thought he did enough last season to justify retaining his seat but it was not to be and now Esteban Ocon lines up against the much-loved Aussie and this talented individual is certain to raise the morale of any team – Toto Wolff is his manager for a reason! Team spirit and team morale is a vital ingredient for success, as Ricciardo himself admits:
“I saw last year as the year went on, belief grew in the team, I think. But that also needs to be reinstated. As a person you forget things over time, naturally, it’s like a human instinct. So as far as like a team spirit and team morale, you know, you have to keep reiterating and reinserting this into the team and the atmosphere. So it’s something I’m working on as well.”
February already started as a busy month for Daniel Ricciardo as he had a slot as a guest on a prime time US show – The Daily Show with Trevor Noah - and he was very open about the fact that he dislikes the importance of having to have a competitive car in F1 and that skill is not all it takes:
“Unfortunately, it’s not like tennis where you can only blame the racquet so much…There is a lot of equipment, it is very equipment-dependent. But that’s the sport and then your job is to try and put yourself in the best team to give you the best equipment. It’s like a technology battle with the manufacturers, it’s crazy. I think to get on the grid, and there’s 20 drivers, that’s obviously an achievement in itself. But then you obviously want to be the best and get yourself to the top.”
However, for 2020, the technology of the R.S. 20 may be the package to see the Honey Badger on the podium once more.
At a time when Scuderia Ferrari is struggling with their package, realistically, Renault may be the nearest challenger to Red Bull Racing and Mercedes so who knows…maybe that podium will come at Daniel Ricciardo’s home race.
There is nothing guaranteed, and he is not a shoe(y) in for claiming a spot in the top 3 but at last it looks like there is a chance – and that is all anyone could ask for as we edge ever nearer to the first race of the 2020 Formula One season.