May 11 (GMM) Daniel Ricciardo thinks it is “likely” Red Bull and Renault will stick together beyond this season.
The parties ended their semi-works partnership amid acrimony last year, staying together only in the form of a Tag Heuer-branded customer deal for 2016.
But Red Bull has been positively surprised by the step forward taken by Renault this year, surmising that the French carmaker’s separate new works foray has improved its focus.
“Before deciding on the future with Renault, we await their developments,â team official Dr Helmut Marko told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“But for the moment we are very satisfied. It is a completely different situation than in 2015.”
Indeed, Red Bull thinks the podium and even race wins might be on the cards if a major engine update for Canada delivers on its promise.
“Renault have surprised me,” Australian Ricciardo is quoted by Speed Week.
“We would not have thought it possible that they would make such progress in the winter, and the update for Canada is supposed to be in the same range,” he added.
So when asked if Red Bull and Renault might even stay together in 2017, Ricciardo answered: “I think so. In light of the progress, anyway, I’d say it’s likely.
“We’re hoping for an engine in the range of Ferrari and that should be enough, given the great chassis we have,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s going to be the sort of turbulent weeks that we had last summer and autumn,” said Ricciardo, referring to Red Bull’s engine supply crisis of 2015.