Bullish Ricciardo’s bold proclamation

DANIEL Ricciardo thinks he can become an F1 world champion at Renault in the 2021 season.

Ricciardo is leaving Red Bull for Renault, who haven’t sealed a podium since returning to the sport three years ago, at the end of the current campaign.

But he told Spanish publication AS: “Now, starting this next journey, realistically I would say 2021, I want to be world champion that year.”

Ricciardo also detailed what he is expecting from himself and Renault next season.

“I want to prove to myself and to other people that it was the right decision,” he said. “I guess to prove some people wrong.

“And just grow with the team and to feel the progress, to be part of that, and to feel like their investment in me was worthwhile.”

Since making his announcement in early August he would be leaving Red Bull to join Renault, Ricciardo’s troubles have gone to a new level.

There have been six races since he announced his departure from the Milton Keynes outfit and in that time he’s failed to finish half of them.

Normally a cool, calm and collected customer, the frustration of the constant issues got the better of Ricciardo following another retirement during the US Grand Prix.

Ricciardo was sent spiralling out of the race after another mechanical failure saw his Red Bull grind to a halt in the ninth lap.

The 29-year-old raised his hands in the air in rage at his seventh DNF of the year as the all-too-familiar trackside motorbike arrived to bring him back to the garage.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed Ricciardo “put his fist through a wall” after the mechanical failure.

The bad luck continued for Dan during the US Grand Prix.Source:AFP

The constant failures with Ricciardo’s car, while teammate Max Verstappen shines, have led to speculation the team has given up on the Aussie.

But Horner was quick to point to the fact that last season, the shoe was well and truly on the other foot among the team.

“You can’t blame him, the frustration that is in him,” Horner said to motorsport.com. “What is ironic is that it is always on his car it seems. It was the other way around last year with Max.

“As Renault’s premier driver you wouldn’t expect these issues to be happening. From a team point of view, all we want to do is finish the year on a high with him and have the chance to celebrate the time he has been with us. But it is a bit unfortunate these things are still happening for him.

“There must be frustrations within him with the issues that are happening. He knows it is not the team’s issue, he knows it is nothing we have done and he cannot get his head around why it keeps happening to him.”

Last year Verstappen retired seven times, including three times in a row with oil pressure and engine problems. But he’s had better luck than his Australian comrade in 2018, retiring just four times, and he sits 45 points ahead of Ricciardo in the drivers’ standings.

Only three races remain on the 2018 F1 calendar before Ricciardo’s time with Red Bull comes to an end.

The smiling assassin wants the remaining races to provide a different stroke to his recent run of bad luck so he can end on a high.

“The biggest shame is that I only have a handful of races left with Red Bull and I want to have more highs than we’ve had,” Ricciardo said.

“I want to be able to celebrate with the team at least one more time and be on the podium to enjoy that feeling, but we’re running out of races which is pretty tough to take at the moment.”

But while the team is also wanting to see him off in style, an ugly twist was brought to light with Ricciardo being blocked from tyre tests once the season concludes.

Dan looks like he’s getting an extended holiday this off-season.Source:AFP

After the final race of the season, drivers who are changing teams are afforded the opportunity to test their new rides. But Red Bull won’t be allowing Ricciardo the chance to do so.

“I’m not allowed to test,” admitted Ricciardo. “I can’t drive for Red Bull and they won’t let me drive for Renault. So it is okay. I can have a holiday.”

Mexico is the next race on the calendar and it presents the team with its best opportunity to claim one last victory.

with Sky Sports

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