Daniel Ricciardo is leaving Renault at the end of 2020, and Executive Director Marcin Budkowski says the team will miss him in various ways.
It was announced before the start of the season that the Aussie would be replacing Carlos Sainz at McLaren for 2021 and beyond.
He will be leaving on the back of a more positive season for both him personally and the team as a whole, for he has two podiums to his name with three races to go.
Budkowski says that sort of driving will be missed, as will Ricciardo’s attitude and trademark smile.
“He’s at the top of his form,” said Budkowski.
“He’s driving exceptionally well and that shows in the team results but also in his personal results, so of course we will miss him.
“But we will also miss the character. He’s a smiley, engaging character [and it’s] a pleasure to work with him. Daniel walks in the room and suddenly the mood in the room picks up because his smile and his enthusiasm is infectious.”
Renault’s 2020 season has been considerably better than their 2019 campaign. Not only has it given the team two podiums, but also 136 points and a chance to finish P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.
Budkowski says this is mainly due to the fact that weaknesses from last season have been addressed and the team understand this year’s challenger much better.
“I think the car is clearly a better car than we had last year,” he added.
“We addressed some of the major weaknesses we had on last year’s car. We’ve made good progress during the season, we’ve made good upgrades and that’s obviously pushed us forward in the pecking order.
“But we’ve also understood the car better. I wouldn’t call it a breakthrough but it was progressive learning and understanding of the car, and therefore in parallel you understand the car better and you improve it. And when all these things come together, you start to perform better.
“We’re in such a tight group and the differences are so small in the midfield cars that by being in the front of the group, you’re taking the opportunities such as podiums – as we’ve seen.”
With three races left, 19 points separate Renault from Racing Point and P3 in the standings.