Cape Town – Renault have been upfront with Daniel Ricciardo in all negotiations, acknowledging to the driver that they “will not be” at Red Bull‘s level next season.
Ricciardo will move from Red Bull to Renault for next year‘s championship after shocking many in the F1 paddock – including Red Bull – when he announced he was switching teams.
It has raised questions about whether it is a move up or down the grid given that Red Bull are the better this season, however, next year will be running Honda engines.
Renault insists they‘ve been upfront with the driver about what he can expect come 2019.
“Our offer has been around for a while,” said Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul. “[Daniel] decided very late that it was the way that he wanted to follow for himself.
“There has not been anything new on our side in the last moments. He knew the deal on the table in terms of financial arrangements.
“But also in terms of the team – the shape we are in, the responsibility that we have to be part of the construction of the team, and therefore of the car which is still not at the level of Red Bull – and will not be at the level of Red Bull next year.
“We‘ve not done or said anything, we are extremely genuine, we are honest in the way that we are presenting the facts.
“I have not suddenly made a representation or promise regarding next year, or what he will get regarding salary.
“It was just a thinking process in his own mind. He needed maybe the time a couple of days into the [summer] break to make this final decision.”
Abiteboul added that he reckons part of Ricciardo‘s thinking in leaving Red Bull was down to doubts about their switch to Honda power.
“I don‘t think he was impressed by Red Bull‘s communications strategy, vis a vis Renault, vis a vis Honda, and how perfect Honda is,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.
“”I think it‘s a bit unfair to Renault. I think Honda is progressing, but all the communication of Toro Rosso regarding Honda, when Honda has already introduced 11 or 12 power units – frankly it‘s a joke, and unimpressive.
“That they can influence a guy like Pierre Gasly I can understand, and not a driver like Daniel Ricciardo, and that I respect.”