Daniel Ricciardo has stressed that he has no regrets over his impending switch to McLaren amid Renault’s resent surge in performance in Formula 1.
Ricciardo joined Renault for 2019 but after just one season of a two-year deal opted to put pen to paper on a multi-year McLaren deal for 2021.
It meant Ricciardo and Renault entered the delayed 2020 campaign knowing that the parties would split at the end of the season.
Renault started the year in subdued form, taking only a string of eighth places from the opening events, but has been the midfield’s strongest team across recent rounds.
Renault, on 99 points, is now only five points down on Racing Point, with Ricciardo’s future employer McLaren just two points further up the standings.
“It is obviously no disrespect to Renault and where I currently am, but I do not regret it,” he said.
“Am I happy to see us progress? Absolutely. And all well and good if it means that we have Renault as a competitor next year to push McLaren further, then that is good for everyone.
“I want to be racing at the front, and every race in F1 is so important, so every chance I get to do it, the sooner the better.
“I am glad that we are making progress, and I feel a part of it, which is important as well for me and my growth as a driver.
“The team have not shut me out with anything. I have been doing simulator and all of it, so it is been really good to work with them.
“And I know for sure bittersweet especially for some guys in the team to know that I cannot continue on after this year. But I’m going to give it a red-hot crack until the last day.”
Ricciardo suggested that the near four-month delay to the start of the season inadvertently assisted Renault’s cause and that the R.S.20 can now be competitive on all types of circuit.
“In winter testing the car was a bit better, but I still don’t think that we left Barcelona in the winter with a whole chunk of confidence,” he said.
“The updates that we brought to what was then the first race in Austria they made a proper step.
“So in the winter this was a bit unexpected, but once we got racing this was the level we expected to see.
“Even last year what we kind of expected to happen 12 months later, but we had flashes of it last year but did not show it consistently enough to really believe it was going to get to the level that we expected.
“On all ranges of circuits now, which is the most encouraging thing for the team. And personally for me to be quick around here, because I don’t think I ever really have been.”