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Renault obliged to prevent Daniel Ricciardo's move following Alonso/McLaren path

Written by  Jan 08, 2019

Renault has a feeling of "obligation" to ensure Daniel Ricciardo's decision to join doesn't follow the same path as Fernando Alonso's spell at McLaren.

The Australian ended a 10-year association with Red Bull, including a five-year stint at their senior team, for what he calls a fresh challenge at Renault, a company keenly trying to rekindle their glory days.

While some still have questions over whether Ricciardo made the right call, team boss Abiteboul admits it was a huge boost to everyone at the French manufacturer.

“It was obviously a huge relief, fantastic news – and the way it was welcomed in the factories at Viry and Enstone was just amazing,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It was a fantastic moment, I have never seen a reaction like that in either of the two factories. It was reminding me of the titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006."

It is thought Ricciardo can be a vital part of the Renault puzzle going forward, but the seven-time Grand Prix winner has conceded success won't be immediate and Abiteboul admits that part of what he told the 29-year-old when making his pitch.

“I was clear to Daniel that if he was expecting a team that is a turn key organisation, where everything is ready and everything is prepared and his only contribution will be to drive to a fantastic level, he should look elsewhere," he explained.

“We are still in the making, we are still progressing and his contribution will be much more than to drive. We are expecting him to be an ambassador, a leader and to bring his experience and his expertise into the team.

“We have added a lot of ingredients into the team, a lot of assets, a lot of people but now we need that extra sparkle. I think he will like that challenge.”

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The Renault boss also insists Ricciardo has brought a new level of motivation to the team, to rise to the challenge that his bold decision to move has brought.

“We have not won anything, but there is this feeling that now we are really on a trajectory to be able to win something. We really feel now this obligation to come up with an engine and a chassis that will be capable of giving what that guy deserves," he said.

“We feel more obliged towards our sponsors, our fans and towards the legacy of the Renault brand in motorsport because I don’t want to look at disappointment or frustration in his eyes over the next two years.

“I don’t want to feel what McLaren must have felt with Fernando over the past few years.”

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