Cyril Abiteboul knows that he pulled off a coup by signing Daniel Ricciardo to partner Nico Hulkenberg for 2019 – and ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Renault’s Team Principal was heralding his new driver line-up as ‘perhaps the strongest on the grid’ this season.
Ricciardo agreed terms to join Renault at the start of the 2018 summer break in a shock move that saw him opt for the midfield squad over proven race winners Red Bull, who he’d driven for since 2014. And ahead of Ricciardo’s race debut for the team in Australia, Abiteboul was optimistic about Renault’s outlook for the season ahead.
“The first race of the year, the Australian Grand Prix, is a high point of the season, but even more so this year as Daniel Ricciardo makes his race debut for the team,” he said. “We head there united and with strong determination. We have a new car that has shown potential [during pre-season testing] in Barcelona. The power unit has made progress and our driver line-up of Daniel and Nico is perhaps the strongest on the grid.
“We’re looking forward to seeing them showcasing their experience and talent on track. There is a lot of expectation for the first race, especially with Daniel’s debut for the team coming at his home Grand Prix.”