Daniel Ricciardo expects Renault’s mid-season engine upgrade to enable him to fight for podium finishes on a regular basis in the second half of the year.
The Red Bull driver left Albert Park having exceeded his expectations by scoring a hard fought fourth, which saw him emerge as the best of the chasing pack behind Mercedes and Ferrari.
After a difficult 2015 campaign hampered by a lacklustre power unit, the Western Australian is eagerly anticipating a sizeable upgrade from the French manufacturer planned for Montreal in June.
Impressed by his RB12’s chassis, the three time grand prix winner feels the engine improvements will see Red Bull make serious strides in closing the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari.
Renault revealed more details of its engine upgrade prior to the Australian Grand Prix having focussed on improving its engine during the off-season.
The French firm has reiterated that although Red Bull is customer team this year it will receive the same power units as the works team.
“I think from the power unit side we are expecting more,” Ricciardo told Speedcafe.com.
“I think we will get the gains that we are promised. We didn’t see those gains last year and that was where we really fell away and were on the back foot.
“This year there is lot more people in the right place to make it work so it is exciting to know that. It should mean we should easily get a podium as the year goes on.
“We should have the good stuff no matter what.
“For now, short term I’m looking forward to street circuits. The chassis is really good and obviously they are less power dependent.
“In the second half of the year we should be strong on most circuits.
“I think we can definitely fight for podiums and serious podiums in the second half of the year. Will it be good enough for a win? I don’t know.”
The weekend meanwhile saw the debut of new guidelines restricting the information delivered by teams to drivers on the radio.
While information was limited, Ricciardo felt the radio clampdown failed to have a sizeable effect on his race.
“Fortunately for me I have never been too chatty on the radio,” added Ricciardo.
“I have never liked constant feedback. In a way I like to be alone on the track.
“There were certainly some things I was asking and there was a pause to see if they (the team) could tell me the information.
“There is a bit more on the driver’s shoulders to manage all the procedures.
“It is not rocket science but these things can be easy to forget in the race. I think we got on top of it.”
However, Ricciardo is glad to see F1 revert to the previous qualifying format after the embarrassing debut of the elimination system.
“I was fairly diplomatic. I said Q3 was not good but Q1 and Q2 was not to bad,” he added.
“People laugh about it and shake their heads, especially the drivers because this didn’t need to be touched.
“The good thing is they recognised it and they have gone back to what we had last year and I think that worked well.”