Ricciardo says Red Bull is out to "crush the competition"

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB. 23.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Three. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images
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Daniel Ricciardo says the ambition of Red Bull's new RB20 shows that the team isn't content to rest on its laurels and is out to crush its rivals in this year's championship.

Ricciardo drive for the team alongside Max Verstappen before leaving for stints at Renault and McLaren. Now back in the Red Bull fold at the sister RB team, he's had a close-up look at the car that seems destined to win the 2024 title.

Rival teams had been hoping to cut the gap to Red Bull, which won all but one of last year's races. But the number of innovations seen on the new car in testing this week makes it clear that they want a clean sweep this year.

Asked if he was surprised that Red Bull had found so many improvements to make on an already dominant car, Ricciardo responded: "“I laugh because I'm surprised, but I'm not."

"It's a team that operates at its best when they're winning," Ricciardo told Motorsport.com in Bahrain. "I feel like when they're winning, it's like they want to just completely crush the competition.

“It's not like: ‘Okay, now we're winning, let's go on holiday,’" he added. "It's like: ‘Let's really put our feet down.’ That's where I think they've come out this year.

"After the most dominant season in '23, now they come out with a car that I think even I was like, 'Wow!'” he said. “I feel like they've had the most updates out of anyone, and that's really saying something.

Red Bull Racing RB20.
23.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Three.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

“Whether I'm part of the family or not, I just as a fan love to see that kind of relentless approach and response to such a strong year," he continued. "It's like you have to admire it in a way.

"I know obviously fans watching on the couch, they're like, 'Nah, I want someone to challenge Red Bull this year," he acknowledged. "But you have to admire their approach.”

Ricciardo praised the technical leadership of Adrian Newey, who was constantly on hand in pit lane during the tests making sure that his latest creation was delivering on all levels.

"I love seeing Adrian near the car and that,' Ricciardo. said. "I don't even feel bad singling Adrian out - I know it's more than just Adrian, but he's obviously a big part of it and it's pretty cool to see."

Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer.
21.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

However, when asked if he felt the new car could deliver that clean sweep of Grand Prix victories this season, Ricciardo was wary about making predictions.

“It seems nearly impossible, because of just how many races there are and whether you get a wet race or not," he explained. "F1 is too unpredictable to be unbeatable.

"I'm sure it's still going to be a race-winning car, but I don't know: it's too early to be that sure that it's going to be as dominant as last year.

"I think they'll do very well but yeah, it's too early to have that confidence," he added. “They're going to win races, I'm sure they will. But I wouldn't go as far as saying that it's going to be unbeatable yet."

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