Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul is aware that signing Daniel Ricciardo puts immense pressure on them to perform in 2019. Ricciardo’s unexpected move to Renault will pile the pressure on a team that still trails its rivals in terms of both engine and chassis performance.
The Aussie tried to justify his decision by citing a need for a change of scenery. However, the jury is still out on whether the bold move will pay dividends, and when.
Ricciardo’s reputation as a 7-time Grand Prix winner has caught the eye of Abiteboul. He is also aware that Renault will have its back to the wall next season.
“It was a surprise, it was a relief,” the Frenchman said. “But at the same time, I could also feel the weight of what it meant for us, for the team, because I feel that we are obliged now to him.
“We had an obligation before to perform and continue the progression, but we have a further obligation not to hurt someone who is one of the most charismatic drivers in the paddock.”
Whether Ricciardo will find at Renault the success that eluded him at Red Bull remains to be seen. But Renault will certainly give it their best shot, and deliver the goods, straight out of the box in 2019.
“I think everyone wants him to be in a position to be in a good car, a good team, fight for wins, fight for podiums first.
“Now we have that obligation, not in two or three years’ time, but we have that obligation now towards him.
“I could also feel the weight of that obligation on us. But I can accept that anyway. We are not here to make up the figures, we are here also to perform and do these type of results.