Daniel Ricciardo has outlined his ambitions to take Renault to the “next level” as they attempt to hunt down the top three in the Formula One world championship.
The French manufacturer secured their best finish of fourth in the Constructors’ Championship since they returned to the sport in 2016 and signed Ricciardo with the hope that he could push them to challenge Red Bull, who finished a massive 297 points ahead in third.
However, it is seen as a gamble on the part of the Australian, especially by his compatriot and the man he replaced at Red Bull Mark Webber, as he will now drive a car consistently being lapped by the top teams.
But Ricciardo insists he will continue to improve and is looking forward to integrating himself into a new team for the first time in five years.
“I want more from myself in terms of I’ll always want more, I expect more from my presence in the team,” Ricciardo said. “Nico [Hulkenberg] is experienced and he’s been around and I want to expect myself to become part of that team very quickly.
“And have a presence in the team, and be another source of push and fire and motivation.
“I guess I’m just expecting to carry good work ethic and to bring the people around us to work on what they have.
“Obviously the driving I will always keep improving, but just try to figure out how to bring the team to the next level.
“Just be engaged in the whole process I guess and not get lazy.”
However, Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul remains grounded about Renault’s ambitions for the forthcoming season but appreciates the importance of Ricciardo’s addition.
“In terms of points scoring, this is the type of target that we will announce at the start of next season but you need to expect from us that we keep on progressing and completing the construction of the team,” he said.
“We expect Daniel to play a key role in that, just like he played a key role in Red Bull’s drive, in our opinion, on track but also off-track because we also feel that we need someone to embody that charge.
“Nico’s doing extremely well as a driver so I also look forward to that line-up to really properly represent the efforts and the ambitions of Renault in that new cycle.”