Daniel Ricciardo made the bold decision of switching to Renault from the 2019 season onwards, after a long, successful stint with Red Bull.
The Australian admitted that he needed a fresh challenge in F1 and with none of the top teams really interested in acquiring his services, Renault was probably the best option at his disposal.
Of course Ricciardo has been in dialogue with Renault over the past many years, as Renault have been supplying Red Bull with engines. And maybe that worked in Renault’s favour, as McLaren too wanted to secure his services.
Christian Horner was a little taken aback by Ricciardo’s decision, as he had not expected Ricciardo to move to any team other Ferrari or Mercedes.
Renault however are thrilled to have Ricciardo on board and believe that he will help Renault get back to the top once again.
“His commitment to us proves our will to accelerate the catching-up process to the top teams.” Abiteboul said.
“It’s also a recognition of the work we have done over the past two and a half years.
“Daniel’s talent and charisma are a big bonus for us. We have to repay that trust by providing him with the best possible car,” he added during his interview Auto Motor und Sport.
Abiteboul though conceded that Ricciardo might not win a title until 2020, and all the work will be directed towards winning the 2021 title.
“With Ricciardo, the big objective is to fight for the title in 2021, but we hope that he can start winning races in 2020.
“But I have also realised that these 29, 30-year-old drivers – and it’s the same thing with Nico (Hulkenberg) – they not only want to drive but they aspire to something else.
“It’s not the same with everyone, but I do believe it is with these two guys,” Abiteboul said.