With two races remaining on his Red Bull clock, Daniel Ricciardo goes into the Brazil Grand Prix with low expectations.
He has been forced to retire before the finish line on eight occasions this year, one more than the seven Grand Prix victories he has notched in his five seasons with the Red Bull – Tag Heurer squad.
The current season has been such a consistently bad one that one photograph of Ricciardo walking back to the pits with a smoking Red Bull car in the background could have been used for all eight retirements during the F1 season.
The future looks dim for him. He is leaving Red Bull for Renault, the company that supplied power units to Red Bull.
With Red Bull switching over to Honda for 2018, it would have seemed that Ricciardo would have stuck around to see how that played out, but his perception, one that is difficult to disprove, that Red Bull was devoting the majority of its resources to the younger, harder charging Max Verstappen proved to be the primary motivator for Riccardo’s switch.
For reasons unknown to all but a few, Mercedes and Ferrari closed the door of giving Ricciardo a seat and for the last five seasons, anyone driving a car built by anyone other than Mercedes was driving for second place in the constructors’ standings.
Red Bull last won in 2013, the year before Ricciardo joined and they had the drivers’ championship that year with now-Ferrari pilot Sebastian Vettel.
Ricciardo’s arrival at Red Bull coincided with a change in engine regulations, just so everyone will know that we are not blaming Ricciardo for all of Red Bull’s issues.
The course in Brazil has a long straight for the finishing section, which is not good for Red Bull, since they are at a significant horsepower disadvantage, so Ricciardo could be in for a long day, provided Red Bull can field a machine capable of going start to finish.