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Did Ricciardo make Renault a better team?

A respected Formula 1 commentator posed a tricky question when he suggested that Daniel Ricciardo’s arrival at Renault did not improve the team.

After a disappointing first season for the French team’s high-profile signing, The French outfit has now ousted its long-time chassis technical boss Nick Chester.

“The progress we have made on the engine is clear,” boss Cyril Abiteboul is quoted by Speed Week. “But the car’s flaws are still there.”

Ricciardo, who made a questionable switch from proven winners Red Bull on a big-money deal at the end of 2018, admits that 2019 wasn’t good enough with the perennial midfielders Renault have been since they returned to the top flight as a works operation.

Ricciardo told Auto Motor und Sport, “It was important that we at least defended fifth place. Losing that would have been a slap in the face financially and for everybody’s motivation. I have to make sure that the boys stay motivated over the winter.”

Sporting boss Alan Permane says the goal for 2020 is fourth place, “McLaren gave up early in 2018 to be better positioned in 2019, and it worked out for them but they couldn’t do that this year. Fourth place must be our goal.”

At the same time, Renault sees the 2021 rules as a great opportunity to catch the top teams. “The development (for 2021) is mainly on the simulator at the moment,” Chester confirms.

As for Ricciardo, Dutch F1 commentator Olav Mol told Formule1 that he is not convinced so far, “Being the clown of the paddock is not enough.

“In Brazil he came from the back to the front, but other than that I didn’t see enough ‘real Ricciardo’ moments. I did not see him make Renault better. In my view he should be less cheerful and instead hit the table with his fists more often,” added Mol.

Big Question: Did Daniel make Renault a better team?