Daniel Ricciardo has written the 2015 season off, believing that Red Bull’s engine partner, Renault, won’t find a big step forward this season.
The French manufacturer has struggled not only with power, but reliability too. Three of the four cars it supplies are already on a fifth power unit, meaning they’ve exceeded the four unit limit after just nine races.
Whilst Renault are getting on top of their reliability problems, it seems they don’t yet have an answer for the lack of horsepower compared to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, and Ricciardo doesn’t expect them to find an answer until next year.
“I think this year, something big, it’s hard to expect [from Renault],” he told Grand Prix Times. “I think now it’s more about what they will do next year, and what can they do next year?
“I think this year we’ll make some small steps, but I don’t think we’re going to find 50 per cent of the power we’re lacking.
“It’s more looking towards next year now. The fight for the title is already out of reach this year, so I think it’s important for the team to set a championship target for next year.”
The RB11 chassis has also come in for criticism, but the Australian believes if the engine was a match for the best on the grid, then the car would be capable of mixing it with Mercedes at the front.
“I think we’re in the ballpark. Mercedes, besides the power [advantage] they have, also have a very good car. If we’d be faster than them? I don’t know. But I think it would be close, and close enough to start putting a bit of pressure on like Ferrari did in Malaysia. Push them to sort of make a strategic mistake.
“We’d be in the ballpark. Then obviously it’s a few tenths here and there, you can find them.”