Daniel Ricciardo thinks Red Bull’s winless 2015 campaign – its first since 2008 – will serve to make him a stronger driver.
The Australian expected to fight for the title on the back of a breakthrough year that had seen him secure three wins and outshine world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel. But Renault’s recurrent power unit issues quickly put a damper on Ricciardo and Red Bull’s ambitions.
Although the 26-year-old only secured a couple of podium finishes and was eventually outscored by new partner Daniil Kvyat, he remains satisfied with how he drove last season.
“There has been time when it definitely has been tough,” Ricciardo is quoted as saying by ESPN. “I don't think the results always reflected maybe how good a race was for us.
“I still feel we had a lot more better races than not good ones. Obviously the ones that didn't work for us, Canada and that, that was painful, that was a tough one to swallow.
“But generally I'm still happy with how I performed and definitely learned a lot so next year I'll be very strong! Spraying more champagne!”
Red Bull’s campaign was marked by constant strife with engine partner Renault, and the energy drinks giant soon openly sought a new power supply for 2016. Despite tensions and rumours swirling around the Milton Keynes-based team, it still managed to recover over the second half of the season.
“I'm really happy how the team improved and turned the situation around,” Ricciardo commented. “The car really felt a lot better than it was at the start of the year.
“There was a lot of frustration and negatives around the start of the year and I felt the team could either have gone down with those negatives or pulled themselves out of it and they definitely pulled out of it very well.
“I think it has made us a lot stronger as a unit so I'm happy moving forward with these guys that we can be better.”
After failing to secure an engine deal with either Mercedes, Ferrari, or Honda, Red Bull will carry on using Renault power units in 2016, albeit under the TAG Heuer moniker.
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