Daniel Ricciardo says the attitude at his new team Renault is one of a team ready to fight at the front following his switch from Red Bull.
Renault returned to Formula 1 as a constructor in 2016 after taking over what was Lotus, and has been re-investing in the facilities at its Enstone factory since then. During that time the team has improved from ninth in the constructors’ championship to sixth and then fourth last season, and Ricciardo (pictured at right with new teammate Nico Hulkenberg) says the mindset is of a team aiming higher.
“I came here end of last year when I finished my duties at Red Bull and I was able to come here and properly see what it was about,” Ricciardo said. “There was a lot of stuff being built and a lot of construction and by the end of January that stuff was done — so I had a good holiday but I know not everyone here had time off.
“That was pretty awesome, how we could see how much had been done in the last six weeks. Again, because the team is on this trajectory there is this really good atmosphere. Everyone was stoked to get fourth last year, but it’s not like we are happy there. We are doing the right things but now let’s build and build. So I just sense the right attitude and it’s certainly not a midfield attitude.”
Comparing Renault to what he had at Red Bull, Ricciardo believes more frustrations crept in at his former team because of heightened expectations over the past five seasons.
“The atmosphere at Red Bull was pretty good. At times it was a bit more frustrating because the expectation was there from the beginning but here the expectation is to keep to growing.
“At Red Bull, it’s, ‘We are world champs and we should be there,’ so if Mercedes are winning it’s … Yeah, it didn’t creep into a negative environment by any means, but it was the case that a lot of times we would start a season and we were going to be in it to win it and fight for a title that wouldn’t work out, so normally through a season you are re-adjusting everyone’s ambitions. But as far as personnel, I did get on with everyone and it was a cool environment.
“But I think coming here, part of me was actually… I don’t want to say worried, but a less harsh word than worried — maybe apprehensive — that I wouldn’t have the same relationship that I had with some people at Red Bull because in the garage with the mechanics we had a pretty strong bond, but already after a few days here I don’t fear that is going to be an issue.”