Daniel Ricciardo’s shock switch from Red Bull to Renault was based on an incredible offer from Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul.
Abiteboul insisted it will be a slow start to life at Renault for the Aussie Driver, and realistically they will struggle to win any races in 2019.
But the promise of using Ricciardo to build something special was the selling point, and like all good things, that takes time.
“We sold him the goal of fighting for championships in 2021, and to start winning races, I hope, in 2020, but not before,” Abiteboul told French newspaper Auto Hebdo.
“And he has also been sold a role that goes beyond that of simply a driver, but that of someone who participates in building a team.
“I realised that the drivers at age 29 – it’s the same with Nico. When they are 31, they want to drive but also aspire to something else.
“This is not the case for everyone but it is for these two guys.”
Ricciardo signed on with Renault on a two-year deal, which will take him through until the 2020 season.
So the work he puts in with the Renault Sport Racing Team over the period of his initial contract are only set to prosper if and when he re-signs for the 2021 season and beyond.
It has been more than a decade since Renault last won the Formula One drivers’ title with Fernando Alonso back in 2006, and Ricciardo admitted it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
“It was probably one of the most difficult decisions to take in my career so far,” Ricciardo told the Renault website.
“But I thought that it was time for me to take on a fresh and new challenge.”
The 29-year-old’s decision to leave Red Bull and join Renault shocked the world of Formula One, with some calling it a gamble on the Aussie’s behalf.
ALONSO RETIRES: The McLaren star has called time on his glorious F1 career
Abiteboul said earlier this month that Ricciardo’s leap of faith will have to be backed up with results in the future.
“Daniel’s undoubted talent and charisma are a huge bonus and statement for the team,” he said.
“We will have to repay his faith in us by delivering the best car possible.
So it has now become apparent that when Ricciardo dropped the bombshell, it was about more than jumping straight back onto the podium – it was about shaping and developing a winning team with Renault.
“I have been impressed by their progression in only two years, and I know that each time Renault has been in the sport they eventually won,” Ricciardo said.
“I hope to be able to help them in this journey and contribute on and off track.”