Renault Sport Formula One Team‘s Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul believes that the team won’t be in a position to provide a winning car for Daniel Ricciardo until 2020.
The Australian stunned everyone with the announcement that he will leave the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team at the end of the season, to join the Enstone based team for two years alongside Nico Hülkenberg.
Red Bull will switch to Honda powered engines next year after the team agreed to end its 12 year association with Renault, where they’ve won four drivers and constructors championships together.
Renault returned to the grid as a works team in 2016 and have been on the up since, lying fourth in the constructor’s championship so far at the halfway stage of the season.
Cyril Abiteboul told Auto Motor und Sport that Ricciardo has ‘justified doubts’ about Red Bull’s switch to Honda for 2019 and that his commitment to Renault is recognition of the work the team has done since joining back in 2016.
“His commitment to us proves our will to accelerate the catching-up process to the top teams,” said Abiteboul.
“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.”
Despite a talented roster for next year with Ricciardo and Hülkenberg, Abiteboul admits the team is aiming to win races by 2020 and hope for a title charge in 2021, when the new set of rules and regulations in F1 start to take place
“With Ricciardo, the big objective is to fight for the title in 2021, but we hope that he can start winning races in 2020,” Abiteboul continued.
“But I have also realised that these 29, 30-year-old drivers – and it’s the same thing with Nico – 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.”