Which is the bigger gamble? Leaving Red Bull Racing and your teammate Max Verstappen or joining Renault F1 as their chief driver? Daniel Ricciardo did both, of course, but in many ways, it’s left folks asking which is the bigger gamble. Is Red Bull’s new relationship with Honda the shot in the arm they need or is joining Renault a step backward given that the team have yet to turn the corner with regards to their over engine performance?
Red Bull and Honda or Renault and it’s reliability concerns as well as lack of pace. According to Daniel, it was a bigger gamble staying put at Red Bull.
“There is a bit of a gamble with it but the more I think about it I don’t see it too much as a gamble in terms of [comparison] with Red Bull,” said Ricciardo.
“We’re not coming in the team saying we’re going to win so the expectation and the bar is not initially very high, whereas at Red Bull every year we kind of built ourselves up because we’d won in the past.
“Every year you kind of feel it’s going to happen and the risk is being let down every year.
“I feel like the risk of failure [staying at Red Bull] is greater than coming here and having the risk of not winning, if that makes sense.
“Out of the two options they both have some risk, but with risk comes reward and because the growth here is potentially a lot bigger I feel that the reward can certainly be bigger here and the ability to become less frustrated is better here.”
Let’s be honest, of course he would say that now that he’s joined Renault but Dan isn’t the kind of guy that is going to wax poetic about s situation. Daniel is a realistic guy in terms of what he views and the situation of joining Renault seemed like the better odds.
“I feel a lot of the failures were pretty 50/50,” Ricciardo said. “I think Austin was a Renault failure and the week after at Mexico was a Red Bull failure.
“But no I didn’t really have second thoughts and again there were a lot of unknowns with Honda as well.
“It was tough because on one hand Honda is new hope for the team, but it’s also an unknown in many respects.
“Renault still haven’t got to where they want to be from a power unit point of view and since 2014 they’ve been really trying to play catch up.
“You can’t deny that every mistake they do make they are going to learn from that.
“I’m sure there’s still probably going to be some mistakes that they’ll make but I feel like they’re ticking them off, and I feel that probably Honda still has more of those things to tick off.”
As we head into testing, I’ll be honest and say that at this point, I see both situations as relatively on par with each other. Red Bull will know what the Honda did last year in their Toro Rosso and this year, Adrian Newey will work with them to push the envelope as much as possible. It could be this pressure and engineering direction from Red Bull that placed the Renault engine in a spot of bother last season that Dan mentions.
Will Red Bull push the Honda to a place of unreliability which seemed to be where they were with Renault? Can we deduce much from Renault and McLaren’s reliability in 2018 to know what Dan may be facing in 2019?
I don’t have a crystal ball but if I were a betting man, I would say that Red Bull will push Honda to a new level but that could have some reliability issues and Renault will achieve better reliability but still be off the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari. That’s my guess but I’ve been wrong many times before.
I would love to see both team on par with each other but there is one thing that does creep into my logic, the fact that Red Bull took the same engine Renault had in 2018 and won races with it. That’s the Red Bull difference. That could mean that they can do the same with a Honda and if that’s the case, Dan may still be looking at the back of Max Verstappen in 2019.
Hat Tip: Autosport