As Renault bids farewell to Daniel Ricciardo at the Abu Dhabi GP, team boss Cyril Abiteboul says the Aussie’s two-year legacy will remain “an integral part” of the French outfit’s foundation.
Ricciardo joined Renault at the start of the 2019 season in a high-profile move for both team and driver. As a race winner with Red Bull Racing, Ricciardo took a step back but with the hope of moving two steps forward as the Enstone squad targeted a return to the winners’ circle.
The partnership endured a difficult first season together, but significant progress has been achieved in 2020, with Ricciardo delivering to date two podiums to Renault, at the Nürburgring and at Imola.
However, the 31-year-old will move on to McLaren next season, but ahead Ricciardo final race in yellow, Abiteboul thanked the Aussie for his contribution while highlighting his “exceptional professionalism”.
“When the team signed Daniel in 2018, it clearly brought a lot of attention and some raised eyebrows in the paddock,” Abiteboul said.
“It marked a statement of intent, coupled with some pressure from signing a multiple Grand Prix winner. The objectives after strong progress that year were very clear.
“While 2019 was disappointing from an overall championship perspective, there were memorable moments like in Canada and Italy.
“While those moments were fewer than we’d have liked, having a driver of Daniel’s ability brought clear and required changes to the team and his influence went beyond just driving the car.
“This season, Daniel has been admirable in pushing on and his professionalism has been nothing short of exceptional, also after the announcement of his departure for next season,” added the Frenchman.
Read also: ‘Awesome’ Ricciardo a match for Alonso over a single lap – Brown
“The moment in Germany with the first podium was a high point and signalled an important milestone in the team’s journey, which we will build upon.
“In this new phase as we transition from Renault to Alpine, the legacy left by Daniel will remain an integral part of our foundation.
“We look forward to fighting him on track with the team in a much better position courtesy of his influence.
“We thank Daniel for his contribution to the team over the last two years and we wish him the best for his new path.”
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