Daniel Ricciardo could give Renault a technical boost in 2019.
That is the view of Nico Hulkenberg, the existing driver for the French works outfit who will be former Red Bull driver Ricciardo’s teammate this year.
“Us drivers are not engineers and certainly not aerodynamicists,” German Hulkenberg told Auto Motor und Sport.
“He cannot tell us how to make the bargeboard. But he could help us by explaining what Red Bull did with various systems or on setting up the car,” he added.
Hulkenberg also thinks Ricciardo’s arrival at Renault will bring “a breath of fresh air” to a team that is pushing to close the gap to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“He also certainly will have some information from Red Bull for us, like how to set up the car for example. That will be interesting for sure,” he said.
Others think 2019 could be real chance for teams like Renault to quickly close the gap to the top three, thanks to the aerodynamic rule changes designed to make overtaking easier.
“With the new front wings no one knows exactly where to go,” Hulkenberg said.
“But it’s not a full reboot, more of a soft reset. As a factory team, it must be our claim to be much closer to the front.
“In the last races we were missing between one and two seconds to the top teams, and we need to at least try to get rid of half of that,” he added.
On the other hand, Hulkenberg said Renault still needs more time to close the gap.
“It also took time for Ferrari and Red Bull to catch Mercedes. We need that same time,” he said.
“Today nobody gets into formula one and blows the others away. Everything has just become too complex for that. The first thing is finding the right people. It all takes time.”