The question marks over the new Renault - F1

Silvia Morton
February 13, 2019

Renault and Red Bull split at the end of previous year, leaving the French manufacturer with just two teams - their factory outfit and McLaren - while its former customers have switched to Honda.

The start of the 2019 Formula 1 season is a month away but ahead of the season-opening race, teams will unveil their all-new cars.

The Australian knew when he made the choice to quit Red Bull that they, along with Mercedes and Ferrari, would once again be the teams to beat going forward.

The move prompted conjecture the Australian is putting money before results, a claim Ricciardo vehemently denies.

"Since 2016 it is pretty awesome what they have done, so to keep going in that trajectory, saying okay you got fourth last year you need to get third this year, it is not as simple because the gap to the top three is pretty big".

Renault admits it faces a race against time to have its new vehicle ready for the start of testing in Barcelona on Monday.

The auto will be piloted by new signing Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, who remains at the French manufacturer for a third season. "I believe we are not the only team to be in that situation". I definitely had to take a medium term approach.

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"It might not come tomorrow, I'm aware of that, but I don't think it's taking as much of a step back as it may seem on paper".

Renault may be forced to delay its planned shakedown of its RS19 on Saturday owing to the late completion of parts for the new vehicle.

It's a career path Ricciardo would love to emulate, but he realises 2019 will be a year of consolidation for Renault, who finished fourth in the championship last year, although they only scored fewer than 20 percent of the total points as champions Mercedes.

However, Ricciardo has been encouraged by his experiences in the Renault factory so far, and appreciates that the workers and engineers behind the scenes have been working tirelessly while the drivers have had time off.

"I think realistically not as soon as this year (challenging for the title), but certainly the plan is to lay more of a foundation for that this year", he said.

Indeed, team boss Cyril Abiteboul has admitted that such has been the desire at Enstone and Viry-Chatillon to maximise development time, the team is under pressure to be ready for next week's pre-season testing at Barcelona, hence the smoke and mirrors deception at today's launch. "But we still have good reason to believe that we will be able to test".

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