Radical overhaul awaits Ricciardo
DANIEL Ricciardo's new family at Renault have dropped a surprise announcement months out from the 2019 Formula 1 season's start in Australia.
Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski has revealed the UK-based team have significantly shaken up plans for their 2019 car following the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations for the upcoming season.
Every team has been forced to do some tinkering to their front wings, which will need to be 200mm wider and 25mm deeper than last season to improve overtaking - but Renault have gone the whole hog and thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Budkowski revealed Renault would be stripping its machines down and replacing everything from scratch, minus the power steering unit.
"It is always challenging to get a car with thousands and thousands of parts, and the only thing we carried over from last year's car is the power steering," Budkowski said.
"That gives you an idea that all the rest (of the car) is changing, and it is changing because we are trying to squeeze more performance from every area.
"It is a big effort to do everything from scratch, plus the (new) regulations, but it is a performance goal. The later you leave it, the more performance you have, but the more stressful it is to get it out on time."
The intense plan to revamp Nico Hulkenberg and Ricciardo's vehicles has put extra strain on the team ahead of testing.
"It's tight. Very tight. But it is always tight," Budkowski continued.
"And if it wasn't tight, you would be wrong, because by definition you leave everything as late as possible to try to get as much performance as you can before you commit to manufacturing the parts and getting them onto the car.
"We have left it late, but hopefully it is for the right reasons in term of performance and we will get a car just in time for the first test and the launch. That is how it should be."
The new regulations could be the fire Renault needs to grab an edge, with Ricciardo hungrier than ever behind the wheel.
The Aussie has regularly been referred to as F1' s best at overtaking and will likely benefit from the wider wing configuration.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the new regulations could considerably shake up the pecking order.
"I think that the biggest impact will be the completely new aerodynamic regulations," Wolff said.
"That will change everything upside down. Somebody might find a loophole or an innovation or understand how these cars work earlier than others.
"I think there's a big variable in those regulations next year, and we could even have teams being right up there that are not on the radar today."