Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo hopes he can mount a “proper title fight” in 2015, though the Australian’s ambitions lie largely in the hands of his team’s engine suppliers, Renault Sport.
Ricciardo performed sensationally last season in his debut campaign for Red Bull, collecting three race victories, while no one other than the Mercedes drivers took a single chequered flag.
The former Toro Rosso driver finished third to world champion Lewis Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg in final the standings and was highly praised for his in-race management.
However, the superiority of the Mercedes-supplied power units used by the Silver Arrows made it virtually impossible for Red Bull to compete on a level playing field, with the final gap to Hamilton almost 150 points.
This performance gap between owes much to Ricciardo’a starting price of 14/1 to claim the 2015 drivers’ world championship, though ahead of winter testing which begins in early February there could be encouraging news.
Speaking of a fundamental overhaul of the 2014 engine which will soon be put through its paces, Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul was in confident mood.
“We knew what we had to do over the winter and we know what we have achieved. We believe we have made a very big step in performance and will be more reliable. In the short gap between seasons we have taken a number of steps forward,” he said.
Abiteoul did admit Renault could not be sure the gap would be closed completely to Mercedes, though, as the German manufacturer is certain to have looked to improve as well.
More will be revealed in the coming weeks, but if results are better than expected for Red Bull and Renault then 14s on Ricciardo may become a peach of a price.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.