- Ricciardo is having a tough season at Renault.
- In 2021, he will join the McLaren F1 team.
- Riccardo's vacant Renault seat will be filled by Fernando Alonso.
- For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Daniel Ricciardo's final season with Renault has begun, and after three races the ever-smiling Australian is some way off the pace.
Though his troubles are not due to a lack of motivation, the fact that his race car is an underperforming machine will not boost his confidence.
Ricciardo stunned everyone, including Renault, when he announced that he'd be joining McLaren next season, with Carlos Sainz swapping the McLaren orange for Ferrari red. But Ricciardo, still donning the Renault yellow this year, is not having the best of starts. And Renault, too, is not in the best of shapes.
Here's how Ricciardo's season is going after three races.
Looking for better results
In Austria, the opening race of the season, Ricciardo qualified tenth, 1.2 seconds off Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes' pace. It was a tough one for Ricciardo, mainly because he was amped to register a better result. In the race, things went from bad to worse when, on the 17th lap, his Renault suffered reliability issues.
He walked away from the race with zero points to his name. His new teammate, the returning Esteban Ocon, secured eighth place, bagging four points for Renault.
The following weekend, at the Styrian GP, Ricciardo had a much better qualifying session and race. He improved on his qualifying performance and secured ninth place, but was promoted to eighth when his 2021 teammate Lando Norris was penalised with three grid positions after qualifying. Ricciardo managed to gain only one place by the end of the race, whereas his teammate also failed to finish the race due to a reliability issue.
In Hungary, Ricciardo could only muster 11th place on the starting grid but climbed three places to eighth when the chequered flag dropped to signal the end of the race.
In the drivers' standings, Ricciardo sits in 11th place with eight points, and in the constructors' standings, Renault is sixth.
Renault is not in good shape and, just like Ferrari, is not showing encouraging signs for a good 2020. But Ricciardo decided to jump from a sinking ship to one that is sailing on steady waters (McLaren). For now, there is little anyone can do to help Renault climb out of its slump, but Ricciardo will continue to fight until the end.
In Ricciardo's place, Renault acquired the services of Fernando Alonso, who will lead the team into the new era that starts in 2022. Alonso had reportedly told Renault to shift their focus to 2022 and forget about 2021's car. This in a bid to be competitive when the new rules and regulations come into play.
And Ricciardo? Well, he'd hope that McLaren's form in 2020 will continue into 2021 and that the team's fortunes will flow into 2022. But for now, all he can do is bite the bit and make the best of an already disastrous season.