We need to start the season stronger – Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo at the Abu Dhabi press conference - Octane Photographic Ltd

Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo believes that to be in with a chance of challenging for next year’s championship, the team need to have a stronger start to the season.

Whilst Red Bull have easily been third best team throughout the year, the deficit to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari was too large to bridge during the early Grand Prix. The team came back stronger as the season drew to a close, most notably with Max Verstappen’s dominant wins in Malaysia and Mexico. Ricciardo’s string of podiums mid-season also attests to the progress the team made in-season.

“What we need to do for next year to have a chance is that we need to start the season stronger,” commented Ricciardo at a press event at Baku earlier this week.

“That’s where we lost a lot of our momentum this year.”

Both Red Bull drivers have been plagued with reliability issues at different points in the season – Verstappen in the early stages and Ricciardo recently. In fact, of all of the full-time drivers this year (a driver who has contested all twenty races), Verstappen has raced the fewest laps, even fewer than Fernando Alonso. But Ricciardo is still content with the development of the car throughout the year.

“At the beginning of the season, we were too far behind Mercedes and Ferrari.  We made a lot of progress, which was really good, so we need to continue that momentum.

We thought this year would be a chance for us to really challenge them (Mercedes). We challenged them some races but not enough to fight for the title. In the end, myself and Max were fifth and sixth in the championship. We didn’t come near to what we wanted.”

Ricciardo would like to see the result being equal to the talent of the driver, rather than the equipment available to them.

“If we make it a bit more equal by bringing the driver in a bit more and taking the equipment out then that would be better. A 50-50 would be something more realistic in the near future and hopefully, that’s the case.

“It would be great if we could all stay within one second with the equipment because then the racing would be pretty fun.”