Daniel Ricciardo believes he can make a 'realistic' push for the 2015 Formula 1 title as he settles into his new role as official team leader at Red Bull Racing.

The Australian stepped up to Red Bull Racing from the sister Toro Rosso operation in 2014 and proved a revelation as he comfortably out-paced four-time title winning team-mate Sebastian Vettel and notched up three race wins against the mighty dominance of Mercedes.

With Vettel defecting to Ferrari, Ricciardo will assume the mantle as the team's No.1 driver heading into the 2015 season and he is setting his sights on mounting a realistic title fight against Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

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"[My target is to] win more races and hopefully mount a title fight, a proper one. Last year I was hanging on by a string, but a realistic one this year would be good."

The only non-Mercedes driver to win a race in 2014, though Ricciardo is cautious over whether the Renault-powered Red Bull has made the step forward it needs to bring it into line with the German marque, he certainly feels he can apply pressure as long as the team is 'perfect'.

"Looking back I think it was pretty awesome how we won three races when Mercedes were so dominant. Whether they had problems or not I think we put ourselves in the right position. Even if he halve the gap at the start of the season, it is a good start. We try and be perfect, so when they are not perfect that is when we put pressure on them."

Indeed, Ricciardo feels Mercedes is less likely to make a substantial gain in 2015, giving Renault the chance to close the gap with an engine that was notably slower and less reliable last year.

"You would like to think that everyone will improve, but Mercedes' room improvement is smaller than everyone elses. I hope I am right and they don't have another 50 per cent step, but I think there is more room for us and Ferrari to make that gap, and McLaren Honda will be interesting too. Mercedes are now the hunted and hopefully we can close that."

Pre-season F1 testing begins on February 1st in Jerez, where Ricciardo will be joined by new team-mate Daniil Kvyat.