Daniel Ricciardo is confident his bad luck will “dissolve” next season at Renault, but says a reliability-plagued 2018 had no bearing on his decision to leave Red Bull.
Ricciardo has suffered eight race retirements this season, more in a single campaign than any other Red Bull driver in the team’s history.
He is joining Renault, Red Bull’s current engine suppliers, following this year’s final race in Abu Dhabi.
And the Australian told reporters: “After 2018 the bad luck is just going to dissolve. I think the bad luck will stay in 2018.”
Four of Ricciardo’s DNFs came before his shock August announcement that he would be leaving Red Bull, and four have been since the summer break.
But Ricciardo, winner of two of the season’s first six races, insists he would have been looking for a fresh start regardless of the team’s performances.
“I think before I had this run of misfortune, I was already looking and tempted to move on and have something different,” he explained.
“Honestly I think whether I had a run of good races, or whether it had been a run like what I had, I don’t think it would actually change my feeling about where I’m going next year.”
Ricciardo is preparing to drive for a Renault team in rebuilding mode.
The Enstone outfit are set to finish fourth in the Constructors’ Championship this year, which would be their best result since re-entering F1 in 2015, but have still been lapping around a second slower than third-placed Red Bull for most of the season.
Ricciardo, however, who has not secured a podium since winning May’s Monaco GP, maintains that he does not regret his decision.
He continued: “I’m certainly excited for a change and for a new challenge.
“I guess part of me is, as excited as I am to try and [finish with] a good result, I’m also just excited to get the year finished and then start fresh with a new team next year.”
Renault currently have 114 points with one race remaining in F1 2018, 278 fewer than Red Bull, who will be powered by Honda next year.