Ricciardo "excited" for Monza due to Renault engine gains
Daniel Ricciardo says the progress that Renault has made with its engine leaves him "excited" to see what his team can do at Monza this weekend.
While Renault has in recent years faced a notable power deficit against Mercedes and Ferrari, the French car manufacturer seems to have closed the gap considerably in 2019.
And it is that step forward, which was on show at times in Belgium last weekend, that has left Ricciardo upbeat about the potential for a good showing at the Italian Grand Prix.
“We have definitely, and people can see it from a power side, we have made a lot of progress this year,” explained the Australian. “Last week in Spa we had quite a slippery car down the straights, so that is good.
“It gives certainly some optimism coming here and I am certainly excited to race here. It is always one I enjoy.
"I think we will be okay and it is not one we look at and say ‘oh it’s not going to be a good track for us’. I think we will be okay.”
While Ricciardo knows that it was Renault’s lack of power that was the cause of much frustration at his old team Red Bull, he says at the works team the focus now is on improving the car.
“All the years at Red Bull it was power unit, power unit,” he said. “The car is perfect, it’s the power unit.
"But actually this year I feel they [Renault] have made a lot of improvement and we just need to improve the car.
“The biggest thing in F1 is the aero and downforce. Sure there are some other things on the car, like suspension, that aren’t perfect, but [the focus is] aero and downforce and being efficient.
“You can put on a lot of downforce, but if you are really slow on the straight it doesn’t make sense, it still needs to work efficiently. That is where McLaren did a good job this year.
"They are able to produce the same downforce with less drag, so they can keep a bit more speed on the straight and then they run more downforce.”
While Renault has suffered a run of reliability problems this year – which included a double failure for McLaren at Spa last weekend – all drivers running its engine are upbeat about the progress that has been made in power terms.
McLaren's Carlos Sainz, who retired on the opening lap in Belgium last weekend, believes that Renault was a lot closer to Mercedes and Ferrari than it had been last year.
“The engine performance is not our major problem in terms of competitiveness because the step Renault did this year compared to last year is very, very big,” said the Spaniard.
“It’s still not at the level of Ferrari and Mercedes, at all, but at least we’re much closer. So we’re happy with that.
“Reliability-wise, if we put everything into perspective there was an issue on lap 11 in Australia and another issue in lap zero of Spa. Apart from that the year hasn’t got that bad actually.
“I managed to get a good run of points before the summer break so has the reliability been terrible? No. Could it be better? Yes.”
Marshals recover the car of Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL34
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Sutton Images
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