Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo says his initial impressions of the Renault RS19 are ‘encouraging’. This is despite him missing most of Tuesday morning’s session due to his rear wing falling apart.
Ricciardo was travelling at high speed down the main straight at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya when his rear wing fell apart on approach to the first turn. Losing control of the car, he flew off backwards into the gravel but, luckily, just avoided hitting the barrier. He was able to extricate himself and get back to the pits for repairs but, apart from a quick shakedown right before lunchtime, he missed most of the session.
As he hands over the car to Nico Hulkenberg for the afternoon, his day is done but the Australian driver was still in chirpy mood as he spoke to media over the day’s official lunchbreak: “When it (the rear wing) broke, it felt like going into the corner with DRS open.”
“As soon as i braked I lost the car and spin. I avoided the wall but coming back in to fix the wing and all that, it takes some time and parts. Not a whole lot of parts at testing either so that was my morning done. Nico should be good to go for 2 o’clock today and I know they’ve a lot of laps planned for him so hopefully all goes well and he gets more feedback. My reference when I’m talking to the team is the Red Bull but his is last year’s Renault so getting both points of view from us is helpful.”
As Daniel Ricciardo swapped from last year’s Red Bull RB14 to what is likely a less competitive Renault offering, he was asked to outline his initial feelings on the car he’ll drive in this year’s championship. Despite the change in technical regulations which sees simplified front and rear wings which are designed to reduce downforce levels, he says that his initial impressions of the car are roughly on target with what he would usually expect at the track: “I was quite encouraged by the run before the DRS failure. I did a long run of about 15 laps or something and I was quite encouraged by it.”
“Obviously my expectations are a little different but what I would expect of, say, the tyres over a long run and the circuit, I felt that I was able to bring the times back to the 1:23s/1:22s and the way the tyre behaved was quite good and encouraging. I say the tyre, but I mean the way the car was behaving. That’s my only real impression for now. I can’t reference against the competitors obviously but I feel encouraged by that run.”
“Yesterday, I got a few more laps and I used it to get familiar and do some setup changes to feel what happened but the run this morning was a bit more representative.”
“I don’t know if the front wing makes much difference, I haven’t got close enough to a car yet to know. The laptimes are still fast so the front wings…I know they look a bit more basic, but there is still a lot of load being produced. I hope we can follow faster but, from a feeling, if I didn’t know it was different, I probably wouldn’t know.”
“The way the car used the tyre on the long run was pretty encouraging. It didn’t feel like it was going to fall off a cliff and that I killed them and that’s the closest thing I have now. We haven’t done low fuel running yet but long run, tyre wear, tyre usage and all that…we’re in the ballpark.”