Ricciardo heaps praise on Renault’s ‘special’ engine effort
Daniel Ricciardo believes that the Renault F1 Team’s season-best result at Monza is testament to its engine factory’s ‘special’ efforts.
Ricciardo finished fourth and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg fifth last time out at the Italian Grand Prix, making for the Renault factory team’s third double points finish of 2019.
The squad’s previous best showings were a sixth and seventh in Canada and a seventh and 10th in Great Britain, and neither driver has individually claimed a better result than at the highly power-sensitive Monza.
Ricciardo, who has only driven Renault-powered cars in Formula 1’s hybrid era, pointed to the showing in Italy as proof of the French marque’s progress on its powerplants.
“We finally got ‘maximum’ points, if you know what I mean, and that’s really pleasing,” said the West Australian.
“I want to kind of give an extra special shout-out to Viry (engine factory), to the engine boys. I think to get this sort of result with the Renault team and power unit is quite a statement.
“Every year we (went to Monza) and it feels like there’s a lack of optimism. At least, over the last few years it was never a strength of ours. For them to turn it around this year to make the gains and put on this result is special.
“Hopefully we can learn something from these low-downforce circuits and take it into a high-downforce one, like Singapore.”
The Marina Bay Street Circuit which hosts this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix is, however, a far less open track than Monza.
As such, Ricciardo believes that Round 15 of the season will be about learning about Renault’s aerodynamic package rather than necessarily enjoying another strong weekend.
“Enstone (team base) have definitely built in the last few weekends a car on low downforce which felt good immediately out of the box, even though there’s less grip with the smaller wing,” he explained.
“It kind of felt easier to drive and more balanced.
“For sure, the package we’ve got on those circuits is great so coming into Singapore I think there’s a lot of things we can learn with a high-downforce and take something from there.
“We definitely seemed stronger on these higher-speed flowing parts, but it doesn’t mean we can’t get it right on low-speed, so we’ll do some homework and hopefully it’s an encouraging result for the boys at Enstone and particularly Viry.”
Ricciardo is currently eighth in the drivers’ championship and Hulkenberg 11th, while Renault is fifth in the constructors’ standings at one position and 18 points behind engine customer McLaren.
Practice in Singapore starts this Friday at 1830 AEST.