Daniel Ricciardo says he feels back to his best in testing with Renault now, after admitting he had to hold back his true feelings last year to avoid creating ‘chaos’ for the engineers.
After an encouraging first try of the new Renault RS.20 at Barcelona in Spain this week, Ricciardo said one of the biggest differences for him over 2019 is that he feels better able to lead development direction.
Asked by Motorsport.com about how different it felt to be with the team for a second year following his switch from Red Bull, he said: “I think this year feels a lot more normal.
“I think last year, just changing teams and trying to also give them as much feedback as possible but also not create chaos in their brains, I was just trying to balance that and also still trying to build relationships.
“[I wanted to] just be kind of smart with how I relay information, and not to just come in and be the loudest guy in the room.
“I think now this year, I would say it compares to Red Bull testing. Last year was a bit of an anomaly. That stood out.”
Ricciardo said the fact that he was able to get down to competitive laptimes so quickly during his first run in the car was very encouraging.
“I think my second lap of the day yesterday was a 19.0 or something, so sub 20s very quickly,” he said.
“It was a bit of familiarity you know, obviously getting into the car the second year now, but it certainly did have initial good impressions.
“So I think getting down to that level of grip and downforce, it was a bit easier than what I remember for sure, or being being able to use that level of group.
“But I guess now, when you start looking for that extra half a second, that’s when it really starts and we’ll see what the car is capable of. But initial thoughts were that there were improvements.”
While niggling problems limited Ricciardo’s mileage on the second day of testing, the Australian said the issues mostly revolved around the team getting to grip with the details of its design.
“I guess without going into too much detail, I think the bodywork and stuff now is still a bit delicate,” he said. “So changing things, it takes a bit of time taking it apart.
“It’s kind of getting inside certain areas of the car because it still has to be done carefully. So I think that’s just naturally taking a bit of time for changes and this and that.”
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