Ricciardo upbeat on Renault development

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 12, 2019
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By sportswriter Michael Butterworth

SHANGHAI, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Renault F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says he is upbeat about the future with his new team despite a disappointing start to the 2019 season.

In a surprise move, the Australian elected to move from Red Bull to Renault for this year, despite the French side finishing some way behind the drinks-backed outfit in the 2018 championship.

Ricciardo is yet to score a point so far in 2019, having retired from both Australian and Bahrain Grands Prix in which his Renault was an upper-midfield runner at best, prompting team boss Cyril Abiteboul to acknowledge that the Enstone-based squad has fallen short of expectations so far this season. However, the Australian told Xinhua in Shanghai that he is confident an improvement is in the offing.

"I knew we wouldn't be on the podium in the first two races, but I'm not frustrated or down about it," Ricciardo told Xinhua. "It's still so early. We've had two races. I know it'll come. We've just got to keep working and I see a lot of positives about where we are going to be in the next few races."

Reliability woes aside, Renault's race pace appears to be fairly solid, with Ricciardo and Hulkenberg running well inside the points positions in Bahrain before their double retirement. By contrast, the car's one-lap qualifying pace has been less than impressive, a state of affairs that Ricciardo admits has left the team scratching their heads somewhat.

"We're trying to understand why," the Australian noted. "I don't think we really know yet. We've looked a few things, but I wouldn't say there's one thing which has stood out. We haven't [qualified in the top ten] yet so that's something we really want to try to achieve. We feel we should be there consistently."

Last year's Chinese Grand Prix saw Ricciardo emerge victorious after he overtook several drivers following a mid-race pit stop for fresh tyres. And while a repeat performance this Sunday seems unlikely, the 29-year-old might console himself with his new-found appreciation for Shanghai, having elected to stay downtown for the first time last year.

"[Previously], we used to stay near the circuit every year, and I never felt like I was coming to Shanghai because I never saw it until last year. So I wanted to go to the city and see a bit of Shanghai, and the city is really cool, and the circuit itself is fun and challenging." Enditem

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