Daniel Ricciardo crash

Ricciardo: Too many DNFs and inconsistency

Daniel Ricciardo has aimed a well-aimed barb at Renault when summing up his 2017 season which was plagued with problems, most of them engine related, and is hoping that next season he will have a more reliable car at his disposal.

The big smiling Red Bull driver finished fifth this season but recorded six DNFs, three of these in the last four races of the season and engine related.

Writing in his column, Ricciardo reflected, “It was a pretty grisly way to end the season, and when it finishes like that with no decent results from the last few, there’s a tendency to think it was average. But I went back through all the races in my head over the last week, and it was pretty good in parts, really strong at some stages.”

“I won a race, I had runs of five and three podiums in a row, held off Lewis to get third in Austria … there was some good stuff there.”

“It was very up and down though, and the DNF’s hurt both Max and me – we had 13 between us, Mercedes had just one with Bottas in Spain and Ferrari had five, and the crash at the start in Singapore was a big factor there. Too many for us, really.”

“There was too much inconsistency for me to call it an amazing season or a bad one. The reliability was inconsistent and for me, in qualifying – I put in some of my standard laps.”

“But there were other times where we were left scratching our heads like Mexico, where I was fastest on Friday and then a second off pole on Saturday. Still doesn’t completely make sense now, that one.”

The question of his future has grabbed a substantial chunk of column inches, especially in the wake of teammate Max Verstappen extending his deal with the team until 2020.

Ricciardo acknowledged, ” I guess Max re-signing with the team took the focus off him and sent it in my direction. It hasn’t been a distraction yet, but the longer it takes, the more people will ask the same questions 200 different ways – and I’ll need to come up with different ways to answer them the same way!”

“So where do things stand? The short answer is that there’s absolutely no rush, and things can take as long as they take – I’m not setting a deadline for anyone else’s sake, or just to get it done for me. I’m not just going to settle on something because I want it to be off my mind because there’s a lot at stake.”

“It’s a big decision for me, so if I need to take time to make it, I will. I’m planning on being in the sport for a long while yet, but in saying that, if I was to sign, say, a three-year deal, that’s a big chunk of the next part of my career.”

“I need to get it right, so it’s a big call – the most important one for me yet, I think. I’ll take as much time as I need to. It’s not going to be a distraction.”

“I’m 29 next year and the next deal will take me into my 30s, so it’s not like I’m the young unproven kid who’ll sign anything just to get on the grid, or at the other end of my career when I’m hanging on and doing things year by year.”

“You look at Lewis and when he did his Mercedes deal, he was the same age as I am now if I remember correctly. He was already doing very well where he was, but his career has really taken off since then. So, there’s a lot to consider.”

“Having the chance to be able to fight for something really meaningful – races, championships – that’s the absolute priority. It’s not even close.”

“Being in the position to make the decision is something cool, something unusual, and something where I feel like I’ll probably learn a lot. No matter what happens, it’ll be a growing experience for me because it’s something I’ve not been through.”

“It’ll be nice to stand on my own two feet and make some grown-up decisions. Maybe even act like an adult! It’s all part of the evolution, I’m told…” added Ricciardo.