The Canadian Grand Prix will see Renault roll-out the second edition of their 2018 Formula 1 power unit and with his future undecided Daniel Ricciardo is looking forward to sampling what the French manufacturer has unleashed from their engine relative to their rivals.
Much hinges on the outcome of the weekend in Montreal not least of which is whether he can seriously challenge for the title this year, while Red Bull’s engine future lies in the balance. The energy drinks outfit on the cusp of deciding whether they remain Renault powered or join their junior Toro Rosso team and opt to use Honda engines from 2019 and beyond.
At Monaco Grand Prix winner Ricciardo took advantage of a car that was the choice of the field on the demanding streets of Monte-Carlo, a venue where outright power is not important for success but is an anomaly among traditional race tracks.
In other words, can the combo also deliver at the same circuits which are more power dependent and traditionally suit Mercedes and Ferrari?
We will know in Canada if Renault have managed to close the gap on the pace-setters in terms of top end which their works and customer teams severely lack, but this may change with the next edition engine that will break cover next time out in Canada.
Ricciardo acknowledged, “Yeah, Montreal will be interesting, we’ll try to get a few more podiums, but yeah, we’ve got to probably prove on at least one other circuit before the summer break that we can win again. And then maybe we’re a nice little outside chance.”
Hungary is likely to suit the RB14 as did Monaco, and with a little luck Ricciardo does not rule out being a title contender, “I think it’s a natural question after a victory. I think I got asked after China if it means we’re in the title hunt.”
“Lewis still has a pretty good buffer on me, so we’re still on the outside of that. It’s not impossible but not really at the forefront of my mind yet. But, even if it was, I’m not going to change obviously the way that I’m driving or trying to attack,” added Ricciardo.
With two victories in the first six races, the Australian has now matched title favourites Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel who also have a win apiece heading to Canada. The Mercedes driver leads the championship at this stage, with Vettel second and Ricciardo 38 points adrift in third.
Big Question: How important is Canada for Dan and Red Bull and Renault?