They are hoping the big-money signing of Ricciardo will help them do that as they look to outperform their former customer’s Red Bull, who have switched to a Honda power unit.
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has already says he sees “no reason” for the engine not to be on par with Mercedes or Ferrari next year.
“With a customer engine from Mercedes or Ferrari we would have qualified in seventh place in Abu Dhabi. This shows that we have a better chassis than our (midfield) competitors, but also shows we are not as good as the three top teams.
“That’s why the main focus at first is on engine development. Next year, I don’t want to have to say anymore that we lacked too much power in qualifying. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari with the engine over the winter. With the chassis it will take a little longer.”
Renault are the third team to announce their launch date so far with Racing Point unveiling their 2019 attempt the following day, before Ferrari follow suit on February 15.
Ex-Formula One star Mark Webber says fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo will excel for Renault in 2020.
But next year? Not so much.
Webber admits he is concerned by Ricciardo’s departure from Red Bull and fears Renault will be just making up the numbers next season.
Webber claims he has even told Ricciardo about his doubts to his face. “I think we’re all a bit concerned about it,” ex-Red Bull driver Webber told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“The people in the industry would have liked him to (stay). I’m still reasonably close to Red Bull.
“I’ve had the odd dinner with Daniel. He knows where my position is on this – it hasn’t changed.
“I would have loved him to stay at Red Bull.” Ricciardo cut ties with Red Bull at the end of an underwhelming 2018 F1 season in which the ever-smiling Australian had little to grin about, finishing a distant sixth in the standings with just two wins.
He links with Nico Hulkenberg who placed seventh overall after missing the podium entirely this year.
The 29-year-old Ricciardo has talked up the chances of his new outfit catching F1’s “big three” next year after Renualt finished fourth in the constructors’ championship, a distant 297 points shy of third-placed Red Bull. Webber – who was replaced by Ricciardo at Red Bull in 2014 – said the popular Australian would taste success with his new team but would have to wait at least a year to savour it.
“I think the funding and the backing and with Honda coming, I don’t think they’ll be incredibly strong next year,” he said.
“But by 2020, I think they could be a very special outfit to be with again. “To get the results that Red Bull are going to get next year is going to be challenging for him to say the least.
“Renault … want budget caps, head count caps, they want all sort of decreases in salaries across the board to get the parity of the sport up there. “I think when you’ve just arrived there as a driver, and you have a team that’s giving that sort of position, that’s a concern.”
However, she is in rehab now and is targeting a return to racing with the ultimate goal of becoming a F1 world champion.
“Of course I hope to be back behind the wheel,” she told the BBC. “The plans are to do the same series again as I did this year, the F3 European Championship.
“I’ll see how it goes, but my goal is to get to F1 and have success there and maybe be world champion. It’s quite a big goal but I’m getting closer every year and I think it’s possible to be there, for sure, and to be a woman world champion.
“I just want to be the best driver. I think the woman part comes by itself.”
Florsch also revealed she received text messages from a plethora of F1 stars, including Fernando Alonso and compatriots Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg as she was recovering in hospital.
The teenager celebrated her 18th birthday just two weeks after the crash and spoke of how despite she losing control, she did not expect the crash to be as bad as it was.
“It probably is a miracle, but that’s probably also the reason why I am happy and why I am normal. It happened quite fast – the top speed was 275kmph – but I can do nearly everything again so, for me, it’s just to be happy and to continue to be positive.
“I remember everything from the crash. It felt just completely different for me because it just happened so fast.
“[It was when] I didn’t have the control anymore because I lost my two side wheels because of the other driver, then you’re just like ‘OK, this is going to be a crash’ but I never thought ‘this is going to be a really bad crash’.
“Even when I was in the hospital, for me, the crash wasn’t so horrible.”When I saw the video for the first time, I was like ‘OK, this actually looks quite bad’.
“I watched it for the first time on the Friday after the crash, and of course I was also shocked because it doesn’t look nice at all. It’s really horrible. I didn’t expect it to look that bad because, in the car, it didn’t feel so horrible.
“So the flying [through the air] part, I remember, but it felt different. For me, it felt like sliding on the ground. I don’t know if it’s because it happened so fast, but it just felt the same.
“Of course, it was a little bit strange that I was landing on top of the barriers, but I didn’t get it together, so I also didn’t really think about what it happened.”
Tickford Racing have confirmed Lee Holdsworth has signed on to drive the fourth and final Mustang for the 2019 Supercars season after leaving Team 18 at the end of the season.
Holdsworth will drive the No. 5 vacated by Mark Winterbottom, who has already moved in the other direction to Charlie Schwerkolt’s single car team.
With 14 full-time Supercars seasons under his belt, the 35-year-old is one of the most experienced drivers in the pitlane and saw off challenges from the likes of Jack Le Brocq to join Chaz Mostert, Cameron Waters and Will Davison in the Tickford garage.
The news comes as The Bottle-O also confirmed they would continue the naming rights on the No. 5 Mustang for a 13th year.
“I’m pumped to be teaming up with Tickford Racing and The Bottle-O,” Holdsworth said. “Even though they feel they had a tough year, I believe Tickford Racing is still one of the best teams in the paddock.
“I’m feeling fit and driving as well as ever, so I’m ready to show what I’ve got. It’s exciting to have the support of The Bottle-O, and I look forward to rewarding them with a great 2019 season.”
Tickford Racing CEO and team principal Tim Edwards also spoke of his delight at Holdsworth joining the four-car operation.
“We’re rapt to be continuing with The Bottle-O into 2019, and obviously we’re very pleased that Lee will be driving the new Ford Mustang,” Edwards said. “He’s the right man for the job.
“He’s a good driver, a good bloke, a good fit with The Bottle-O, and we believe he will bring us great results on and off the track. He’s got something to prove in 2019, as do we. We like that he’s bullish about the coming year, and we’re excited to get him on track.”
Holdsworth will first compete in the Bathurst 12 Hour with Audi before making his Tickford debut in Adelaide on March 28.