Daniel Ricciardo insists he remains “very optimistic” Renault can turn around its fortunes despite a disappointing start to the 2019 Formula 1 season.

The Australian completed a winter switch from Red Bull to Renault but has endured a tough maiden campaign so far with the French manufacturer.

Ricciardo has managed just one points finish from the opening five rounds of the season, while Renault is languishing in a lowly eighth in the constructors’ championship, having scored just 12 points.

Asked how he has been dealing with the difficult start to the season, Ricciardo replied: “Pretty good actually. A few people have been like sorry it is not really going as well for you as you probably hoped. Not in a negative way, but I did expect this.

“I knew that we were not going to start off competing for podiums straight away. So I expected a struggle somewhat. And expected work needed to be done.

“More personally I’ve felt happy when I’ve made mistakes, more from myside I have not always been that happy with myself. But where the team stands, I wish we were quicker but I still see a lot of areas where we can keep improving.

“I’m still very optimistic that we can still hit the trajectory we were hoping for. We might be a bit behind it for now, but I am not discouraged at all. Also it is definitely too early in the season for me to be discouraged.

“Just for the whole morale of the team it is important to address issues that need addressing but you still need to remain positive and confident and optimistic… it is just managing everyone’s motivation.

“But hand on heart personally I’ve been really good, and I still feel really comfortable and happy where I am. So I’m just excited to see some progress.”

Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Renault announced it had reshuffled its internal management team at both its Enstone and Viry bases with focus firmly on the proposed rules shake up for 2021.

“I’m aware of some changes that are happening,” Ricciardo explained. “The big picture is looking ahead to 2021 but these things they are putting into place now or at some point this year are going to help for 2020 as well, and hit the ground running for 2021.

“The thing I say from day one when I joined the team was that they are pushing and exploring every avenue they can. For me that is encouraging and for now I don’t need to know the details.

“I will definitely over time try to figure out why is this person in that department and what was the reason for that - but for now I am seeing that they are trying to evolve as a team and that is cool for me to see. They are in it for the long haul.”

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