Cyril Abiteboul, the boss of the Alpine F1 team (formerly Renault Formula 1), talks about the twist that Daniel Ricciardo, who joined McLaren this year, will ironically face a far stronger opponent compared to before; because he helped Renault improve dramatically over the last two years.
“He has delivered positive results and the irony of it all is that I think we are a much stronger team now and that he will have to face a much tougher team in 2021 than he did in 2019 when he arrived in Enstone,” says Abiteboul.
“But we’re also happy to see him in a great team and looking forward to an exciting battle against McLaren and
Daniel next year . ”
Asked how Ricciardo has shaped the Renault team during his two years at Enstone, Abiteboul cited the Australian’s leadership, a quality he will now bring to McLaren.
“He has given a lot. Everything he has given has been as a driver and he has been remarkable this year . I don’t think there’s any doubt about the team’s progress.
“The credit goes to Daniel, who has clearly set the tone in the team and with the behind him a whole group of people and a group of mechanics and of engineers who have done a remarkable job on the track.
“Off the track, we all know that Daniel is a great ambassador, he is a team leader. He has clearly been instrumental in the changes we made last year  when we had a very disappointing season.
It should be remembered that in 2021 the Alpine F1 team will line up a duo of drivers made up of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and Frenchman Esteban Ocon. Daniel Ricciardo for his part will team up with the young British driver Lando Norris in a McLaren team that finished third among the manufacturers in 2020 and which will be powered in 2021 by Mercedes.
Today it was revealed that Ricciardo’s new teammate has been diagnosed with COVID 19. Despite testing postive, it appears that Norris is not suffering from significant symptoms.