Ricciardo outlook for 2019 boosted by Spec-C performance

Daniel Ricciardo believes the encouraging performance in Singapore of Renault’s latest Spec-C power unit bodes well for his future with the French manufacturer’s works team.

The Aussie’s unexpected move from Red Bull Racing to Renault at the end of the current season has been debated at length in the F1 paddock, and the jury is still out as to whether Ricciardo has made the right decision.

Pundits aside however, the 29-year-old feels his performance in Singapore – and even more so that of his team mate Max Verstappen who finished second behind Lewis Hamilton at Marina Bay – is an initial validation of his recent career choice.

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Both Ricciardo and Verstappen used the Spec-C in Asia, and while the latter was frustrated by niggling mapping issues encountered over the weekend, the former was left with a sense of optimism.

“Through my time with the Renault power unit we’ve had some updates which have worked and some which haven’t. That’s been the reality,” said Ricciardo.

“Obviously the ones that don’t it can be a bit frustrating or demoralizing if you’re expecting something more than what you’re getting.

“Now, this being their latest step, having positives and actual gains from that, is positive. It’s encouraging for the next part of this year but also for my future. It’s a nice little positive.”

Looking back to Monza, where the Spec-C was put to the task for the first time, Ricciardo felt the benefit of the extra power at the outset.

“As a driver you could feel it, especially in qualifying,” he told motorsport.com.

“That was the first time I turned everything up on it. It felt like it, let’s say, pulled a little harder before the braking. It was a step in the right direction, I’m convinced on that.”

However, looking ahead to Russia, neither Ricciardo or Verstappen will enjoy the extra edge offered by the Spec-C engine, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

“We’ve got the previous specification going in for the next race, so Sochi is going to be a tough weekend for us,” he said;

“We accepted the risks when we took this [Spec C] engine. It has delivered a bit more power and it has been a bit rough around the edges.

“I think they [Red Bull mechanics] actually did a good job to tidy it up as best they could on the mapping within their parameters. With more time and more optimisation, it would only be better.”

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