Daniel Ricciardo says it is definitely not “unlikely” now that Red Bull Racing could stick with Renault power units in 2017.
Relations between Red Bull and Renault soured considerably last season, with the Milton Keynes squad openly critical about the regie
's attempts at developing a competitive V6 turbo. However, after being rebuffed by Ferrari and Mercedes, Red Bull had to patch things up and this season continues to use their engines, albeit now with TAG Heuer badging.
Reflecting on the opening four races of F1 2016, Ricciardo admits he has been surprised by the Renault (TAG Heuer) power unit.
“Yes, I would say so. This part of the year, yes, we didn't expect, the power unit now, we didn't expect it to be that different to how we ended last year. Up until the update we get in Montreal we expected it to be pretty similar, but it seems like the changes that they did make have given us a bit more,” confirmed the Australian. “That is cool, so yes, it is given us a bit more than we thought for now. As long as the updates give us what we then do expect we will be looking pretty good.”
Pressed on if he can see Red Bull sticking with Renault in 2017, Ricciardo added that if the Montreal update works, he can't see there being a repeat of what happened at the end of last year, with the team not able to confirm its engine plans until December.
“I think so,” he replied, when quizzed on if he thinks he can see a situation going forward where Red Bull and Renault are happy to stay together. “It is definitely not unlikely now. Again, if we do get what we hope or what we see from the update it should put us on a Ferrari power unit level, which is sure competitive enough for the team and the chassis we have. So we might not have that much of a silly season with the power unit as we did last year.”