Ricciardo: Renault dodged a bullet in 2019

Daniel Ricciardo says Renault “dodged a bullet” in 2019 after a disappointing campaign fell way short of initial expectations.

Th signing of Ricciardo was expected to help Renault in their bid to close the gap to F1’s top three teams this season, but the team ended 2019 without a podium and 31 points worse off than the previous year.

The French manufacturer entered the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP fearful of losing fifth place in the constructors’ standings to Toro Rosso, but Pierre Gasly‘s early collision effectively decided that battle.

“That definitely would have been a punch in the guts,” Ricciardo said of the prospect of losing fifth place to Toro Rosso.

“Financially it is. You put the financial loss onto the motivation loss, and we didn’t need that.

“So let’s use that as a positive and say all right boys, we dodged a bullet, so let’s avoid all the bullets next year.”

Ricciardo is confident that Renault can develop through 2020 better than this season.

He said: “I know I like to talk a lot, but I am not one to say we will do better next year boys if I really don’t think we will. I am not just going to massage their shoulders and tell them what they want to hear.

“I know I will get better, so that is one variable that I know is going to change for the better. Even with that alone I am confident moving into next year.

“We can change [the car’s aero performance] and get a lot more out of it as the year goes on.

“With the updates we didn’t really get that much, so we have a bit in hand. We certainly have the resources and the budget to do so. So I’m optimistic.”