Renault F1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul feels his team’s driver line-up of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg is “perhaps the strongest on the grid” as the team prepare for the first race of the season.
Renault re-entered Formula 1 as a works team back in 2016, after supplying engines to team of the grid previously before.
Hulkenberg has been part of the team since their re-entry, moving from Force India back then, whilst Ricciardo made the surprise switch to the team from Red Bull last summer, wanting a fresh start and new surrounding after being there for five years.
Abiteboul said (quoted by GPToday.net): “The first race of the year, the Australian Grand Prix, is a high point of the season, but even more so this year as Daniel Ricciardo makes his race debut for the team.
“We head there united and with strong determination. We have a new car that has shown potential [during pre-season testing] in Barcelona.
"The power unit has made progress and our driver line-up of Daniel and Nico is perhaps the strongest on the grid.
“We’re looking forward to seeing them showcasing their experience and talent on track.
“There is a lot of expectation for the first race, especially with Daniel’s debut for the team coming at his home Grand Prix.”
The Australian won seven races whilst at Red Bull and added a further twenty-two podiums during his time there.
There have been questions raised because of his move but he is determined to prove people wrong and that Renault is the right choice.
“It’s an exciting thought that my first race for Renault is my home Grand Prix,” he said.
“There’s always so much hype at the start of the Formula 1 season, and this has been amplified by me joining a new team.
"I’ve had this date circled since I announced I’d be signing with Renault and I’m looking forward to getting race week started.
“It’s been a long winter with a lot of theories and speculation going around, but the race track is where we settle all that.
"We had a good winter test, I’m growing happier every time I step into the car and the first race will be especially exciting.”