- Renault Sport Formula One Team

Following a polarising departure from Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2018 F1 season, the 2019 challenge for Ricciardo has been one of ups and downs, as he sits ninth in the driver standings with 54 points, heading into the final round at Yas Marina Circuit.

Looking back at the season, the Australian driver is pleased with how it went, as admittedly he didn’t expect much from the season, knowing signing on with Renault that it would be a new challenge, rather than easy top five finishes.

“I knew all this was going to come but I was very, I guess open-minded for the season,” said Ricciardo. “Firstly, I was excited to have a fresh start and a change. I’ve made the mistake in the past of setting to high an expectation and left disappointed.

“I more came into the season excited for something new and a new challenge. I didn’t really expect the world from this season. I expect a lot from myself but I knew it would take time to get the team to where we want it to go.

“We’re still not there but I think in the second half of the season we have had a bit more consistency. That’s been more positive. So looking towards what we are really trying to achieve next year it looks better. We’ll start to expect more.

“This is not only from myself but also from the team come 2020. But I think we have learned a lot. Personally I have. The results haven always been what we wanted but I definitely don’t see it being a year to forget or anything like that, far from it.”

In 2020, however, Ricciardo is hoping for more and setting the bar at one podium as the minimum and on the team side, he hopes that Renault achieves a McLaren-like progress in the off-season, into next year after the outfit managed to beat them for fourth.

“When I signed with the team, 2020 was the target to finish on the podium, at least once,” said Ricciardo. “That’s really the target. We’re still a little bit away from that but McLaren are proof of the pudding that you can really make a big difference in one season.

“So I think with a strong off-season it’s not impossible for us to have a chance to fight for that. I think ultimately whether it’s champagne or not we want to closer to the top three and actually be in the fight with those three teams more consistently next year.”

[Note: This article was also written by me on Formula Rapida and edited by Darshan Chokhani]

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