Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo believes that Renault’s planned engine upgrade will allow Red Bull to close the gap with Mercedes and battle the reigning champion for victory in twistier circuits.
Ricciardo and fellow F1 driver Max Verstappen has just showed on Saturday that Red Bull has one of the of the best chassis in the track, emerging as Mercedes’s closest challenger in the qualifying rounds. The 26-year-old Australian F1 driver has qualified third ahead of Verstappen, and they’re both outpacing Merrcedes’ toughest rival, Scuderia Ferrari.
With Renault introducing engine upgrade in Montreal, Canada, Ricciardo feels the heat that Red Bull could now be in position to win on tracks where energy isn’t so essential.
“I think there will still be a little more, but sure on some circuits it could be enough,” Ricciardo said in a statement, via the Motorpsort.
“So if we were to have it here, for example, I think there’s still 0.6s off Lewis today so I don’t think we’re expecting 0.6s from the upgrade so we would probably still not quite be there but it would certainly put us a lot closer.
“Monaco and Budapest, some of these tighter circuits, I think (it) would give us a real shot, so hanging out for the next few races, really.”
The upgraded engine will be tested by both Renault and Red Bull in Barcelona this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, but the engine won’t make in Monaco race track, where ultimate power is not at a premium.
However, Ricciardo has downplayed his chances of beating the Mercedes F1 team on Spanish Grand Prix.
“I’d love to say we can fight with them but I’ll just try to hang with them. Hopefully get a slipstream and they can drag me down into Turn 1. And yeah, stay close,” Ricciardo said in statement, via the Motorsport.
In addition, Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes that the planned engine upgrade will represent a significant step forward for the French outfit. The Renault boss is also hopeful that the improved performance will encourage Red Bull to make an early commitment for a steady supply for 2017 season.
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