Daniel Ricciardo: Difficult debut Renault season not a year to forget

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo

Renault have fallen behind McLaren in the midfield battle and Daniel Ricciardo has realistic aims for the 2020 Formula One season.

Daniel Ricciardo does not consider his debut season with Renault as one to forget and is confident of being able to challenge Formula One’s top three teams in 2020.

Ricciardo has endured a difficult campaign with Renault after switching from Red Bull in a bid to boost his world championship ambitions, finishing in the points just seven times and failing to get a single podium.

McLaren have led the midfield this season and sit 38 points clear of the French team in the constructors’ standings, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat the only driver outside of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to earn a top-three finish.

Ricciardo is confident Renault will have the capacity to fight for podiums next year, suggesting he bought into the team’s long-term aims when agreeing to join.

“I was very open-minded for the season. I was firstly excited to have a fresh start and a change. I also made the mistake in the past of setting to high expectations and being left disappointed,” Ricciardo said at a news conference ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

“I came into the season excited for a new challenge. I didn’t expect the world from this first season. I expect a lot from myself, but I knew it would take time to get the team to where we want it.

“We’re still not there but the second half of the season we’ve had more consistency, that’s been more positive. Looking towards what we’re really trying to achieve next year, it looks better.

“We’ll start to expect more, not only from myself but also from the team, come 2020, but we’ve learned a lot. The results haven’t been what we’ve wanted but I definitely don’t see it being a year to forget or anything like that.”

Asked about his hopes for 2020, Ricciardo replied: “Champagne. Really when I signed with the team 2020 was the target to finish on the podium at least once, that’s really the target.

“We’re still a little bit away with that but with a good off-season – McLaren’s proof that with a strong off-season it’s not impossible for us to have a chance to fight for that next year.

“Ultimately whether it’s champagne or not we want to get closer to the top three and be in the fight with those teams more consistently next year.”

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