Plooij suspects dissatisfied Renault: "Feedback Ricciardo different from Nico's"

25-04-2020 11:00
by Editorial Team
Interview
Plooij suspects dissatisfied Renault: Feedback Ricciardo different from Nico's

For Renault and Daniel Ricciardo, 2020 will be an important year. The Viry formation has spoken out loud to take fourth place in the constructors' championship and according to Jack Plooij Ricciardo has to guarantee his future in Formula 1. It's not inconceivable that the current Renault driver will be stuck with the fried pears after a bad season, according to Plooij in conversation with GPBlog.com.

"Yes, that's already recovered", Plooij says in an interview with GPBlog.com about the relationship between television station Ziggo Sport and Renault that got a bit clouded in the past. "I have to say that I don't yet have such a great relationship with our French friend Cyril. It's just that I don't think he's such a nice guy." Plooij thinks Abiteboul is 'not a likeable man'.

Abiteboul not proactive

At least, he doesn't look like that to the Ziggo Sport pit reporter. "His statements on paper don't exactly match what he's saying to me. Then you can say: 'It's written down wrong', but I think he can do something about that as well. If, for example, you don't say something right, you can take action on it. He doesn't do that. Then do something about it. It's fixed, but I can't make an interview with him as fun as with a Toto Wolff."

Abiteboul greets this year Esteban Ocon in the car of Renault. The Frenchman hasn't driven a Formula 1 car for a year and a half when the season starts, except for three days during the winter tests in Barcelona. What will the Frenchman be able to do when he returns to the royal class of motor racing? "That only depends on his engine and his car. He's lucky, because that Renault isn't going so well. He will have to measure himself tremendously against his teammate. I don't think he's going to pass Ricciardo just like that, but he will have to levitate that first year. He's pretty much on the long side, but I think he's lucky to fit in the car".

Mercedes knowledge at Renault

Ocon could have an advantage over Ricciardo, says Plooij. "I'm not sure, but from what I've understood Daniel's feedback is technically completely different from Nico Hülkenberg's." The feedback from the German would be more detailed. "And Ocon, of course, had a great time sniffing around Mercedes. He has been able to see a lot and if he has been able to save that, and translate it into building up the French team, he could really benefit from that".

Ocon fits exactly into the profile of what the yellow factory team is looking for: young, talented and French. "If the engineers are soon impressed by Ocon's feedback, he can benefit from it. But I haven't heard what his feedback is like yet. I don't know what he's doing."

2020 the season of truth for Ricciardo

For Daniel Ricciardo it is in any case a matter of beating his teammate and performing well. It's no secret that the Australian is dreaming of a switch to Ferrari, but if he wants to rekindle that Italian interest, he has to be good this year. When asked if Ricciardo should perform better next season, Plooij answers: "Yes, absolutely, otherwise it could have serious consequences for him. If Esteban is doing well, where should he go? If Daniel gets a bad year now..." Ricciardo's contract expires next season.

Should that scenario become reality, Renault probably has no intention of continuing to pay the monster salary of around 30 million a year. Ferrari will drop out as a candidate and Mercedes has with George Russell someone in its own ranks who can either replace Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull Racing is not going to take him back and for his move to Renault Ricciardo has pointed the door to the McLaren team. It is quite possible that the driver from Perth will then be unlucky. "I think that it could be bye bye if that situation occurs." The only option then seems to be Racing Point, where the money with Lawrence Stroll doesn't seem to be possible.

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