Daniel Ricciardo’s is already having a “positive snowball effect” on the Renault Formula 1 team by providing the team with a “new direction” at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo joined F1’s current midfield leaders having made the switch from Red Bull to link up with Nico Hulkenberg as the French bids to reduce the gap to the top three teams in 2019.

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul revealed the effects of Ricciardo’s arrival have already been felt at the first race of the season in Melbourne, with the Australian pushing new development items.

“His insight is like he is looking from the outside,” Abiteboul told Sky Sports.

“He’s talented and he’s passionate. So he can bring a lot but also he can bring some specific items.

“For example today there is a specific item that he wants us to progress and that’s good because it gives new direction to the team. So it’s all of that we are looking to see in action.”

Asked if he feels Ricciardo’s arrival will force Hulkenberg to raise his game, Abiteboul replied: “Absolutely. So far I think it’s the best teammate Nico has ever had.

“Carlos was strong but probably Daniel is stronger. We all know this is happening and the dynamic we want to create.

“This type of positive snowball effect we want to see.”

However, Abiteboul insisted Renault does not view Ricciardo’s move from Red Bull as a coup, but rather a reflection of the team’s broader plans to return to winning ways in the sport.

“It’s not a coup - frankly, I don’t want this to be presented or interpreted like that,” Abiteboul said.

“It’s just another step on our journey and on our plan. We wanted and needed to have a driver line-up capable of starting to get near the top three in the next two years - that is the plan and the target.

“It’s a strategic move that needs to be interpreted as a move for a long-term strategy, rather than a coup.”