Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo says he “would love” to race Renault’s latest power unit specification as early as next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, after sampling the upgrade on the opening day of in-season testing in Barcelona.
The French manufacturer initially wanted to introduce its B-spec engine in Canada next month but is now reportedly pushing to unleash it around the streets of Monte Carlo. Asked whether Renault’s evolution was meeting the early expectations, Ricciardo, who set the sixth fastest time while also racking up 89 laps, replied:
“Yes, I think so far we are pretty happy with how it is all looking, so yes we will see what they find tonight, but I think generally I was pretty happy with today and it was all pretty reliable and everything ran as smooth as it could.
Both Red Bulls out qualified the Ferraris using Renault’s current engine spec last Saturday in Spain. Although Sebastian Vettel dismisses the threat posed by his former squad, Ricciardo believes it can truly emerge as the second-quickest team – if not challenge Mercedes – should the Renault upgrade deliver.
“The progress is definitely there. Now to make that next step will be…that is the last little step I think we are after to try and really get on Mercedes, but we are getting closer, and that is obviously exciting.
“Monaco will be our best chance yet. Obviously we had a good chance on the weekend, but for pure speed Monaco should interesting.”
Pushed to describe how keen he is to secure the Renault evolution for the next championship round, the 26-year-old added: “We will try to take what we can, but we will see. If we can get it, for sure we’d love it, but, yeah, I think it is going to be a matter of time for now.”
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