Ricciardo using off-season to build relationship with Renault

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo says he wants to take his relationship with Renault to the “next level”.

What they say

RaceFans asked Ricciardo how he intends to spend the break before the start of the 2020 F1 season:

I’ve got some ideas. Some team morale stuff, call it like ‘team building’ and some activities.

But I think more importantly, just to spend time with the team even away from the track. At the track like with Cyril [Abiteboul, team principal] sometimes it’s like ‘hi’ and that’s all you get over a weekend because he’s busy, I’m busy. So you don’t always get quality time at the circuit.

I feel that to take this relationship to the next level, getting time away from the track is good. Just having that feeling for the guys, if they know each other a bit more then they’ll want to work a little bit harder for each other and make some good stuff happen.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Will Alfa Romeo’s return to F1 prove short-lived?

I am more worried about the future of Alfa Romeo’s presence in F1, given the sales report of the car business in last few years. Also, FCA and PSA merger may not be good news for it.

The team will definitely remain, under a different brand and/or owner. But the Alfa Romeo name won’t.

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On this day in F1

  • Born on this day in 1957: Beppe Gabbiani, who entered 17 F1 races and failed to qualify for all but three of them.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Ricciardo using off-season to build relationship with Renault”

  1. I think that Ricci’s attempts to build up the team’s ‘esprit de corps’ is a very good idea. In my extensive past experience as a CEO, teamwork was always a basic component of success. Implementation of competitive teamwork also led people on to achievements that would otherwise be hard to achieve as a solo act. It also highlighted weaknesses that were a restrictive element thus enabling corrective action. If Daniel can contribute further to the performance of his team then that can only be good. One element of teamwork is pride in your national identity and i’m always moved when i see the Ferrari team belting out the words of their national anthem with such passion whenever they have a win. Great stuff.

    1. He’ll need to with a French driver now joining the team. I’m sure Cyril will be more comfortable spending time with Ocon than with Dan so he’ll need to ensure he has the team working effectively rather than being distracted by Cyril’s lack of leadership.

  2. Excellent article with Andreas Seidl. He’s pragmatic, have a positive approach, a lot of planning and trust within his team; and he accepts responsibility for teams mistakes, as a great leader should do. I believe this was the smartest move at McLaren, and hats off for Brown to arranged this one. For me Andreas is like a Ross Brawn kind of guy, very pragmatic, reasonable, and effective. I’m sure he will be able to help consolidate the comeback from Mclaren to top dog level. Exciting times ahead for them and for F1 as a whole. I’m confident they will be back.

    1. Getting Seidl was the best thing McLaren have done in a decade.

      To be honest, I wouldn’t blame them for sacrificing 2020. The rules haven’t really changed, they’ve shown they can make the 4th best car (With the current rules, that’s as good as they’ll get) and putting energy into 2021 will pay off.

      Of course they don’t want to be seen as going backwards, but I think they can relax a bit, maybe take a few risks knowing it’ll all be reset next year but not worry as they’ve proven themselves after a difficult few years.

    2. Yes, Seidl, this year he’ll be responsible for something. How will he handle.

    3. @mmertens I found the comment about the team’s (his) approach accepting mistakes to more about everyone being allowed to make mistakes. And mentioned emphatically in this portrait interview, it seems to be a new approach that he has instigated.

      In other words, no more ‘blame game’ a la Boullier..

  3. It seem like for the Middlefield, it’s more about Renault against McLaren now, than against Haas.

    1. @sunnchilde Well, given how badly Haas faired last season, it’s hard to believe they’d suddenly challenge Mclaren and Renault all-season long, but in F1, anything’s possible.

    2. I’d be surprised if renault can get any closer to mclaren. Renault is at somewhere around 5th every year. Maybe that is stagnation or maybe its level flight. Meanwhile mclaren has doubled its points score three years in a row. Exponential improvement. Regardless how you see it mclaren has overtaken renault. 2019 is also a year where we don’t really expect anything to change. It is the same technical regulations before huge revamp and last year before budget gap. I’d be very much surprised if renault is better than mclaren in 2019. I’d even go as far as to say renault has better drivers but the car situation should be clearly in favour of mclaren. Mclaren needs to make a big mistake to now improve in 2020 whereas renault needs a big push to improve.

  4. @Praxis your COTD is timely as I believe Alfa do not have any new product scheduled for 2020. I think they are going with a couple of rehashed older models, basically their cupboard is bare.

    1. @johnrkh,
      Sergio Marchionne probably had some extra bit of interest towards reviving the Alfa Romeo brand. The new leadership may not have the same idea. This expensive branding exercise of having a team in F1, definitely comes secondary to selling necessary number of cars.

    2. @johnrkh, I believe that there is a new model, a compact SUV called the Tonale, which is meant to be launched in late 2020 – however, the proposed GTV and 8C successors (which I think were planned to come in over the next few years) have both been dropped.

      1. And FCAPSA needs a brand like Alfa Romeo in their line-up; it’s the only sporty-luxury brand they have left after they let Lancia slip to a sole model tiny car brand.
        Thinking of Lancia, this could very well become their BEV brand within the line-up.

        1. @coldfly, the problem is that Alfa Romeo’s latest sales figures suggest the company is currently in a major crisis.

          In the US, after officially returning a few years ago, they had seen sales grow reasonably in 2017 and 2018 to hit about 23,800 in 2018 – unfortunately, the figures they’d released earlier this year point towards sales sliding between 25-30% compares to 2018.

          However, if the US sounds bad, the figures so far for Europe are a catastrophe – the figures they’ve released so far suggest their sales have collapsed about 45% this year and are the lowest they’ve been for at least 30 years (you might even have to go back to the 1970s for a time when Alfa Romeo sold fewer cars).

          To put it in perspective of how bad things are for Alfa Romeo, Lancia – the company you mention as “a sole model tiny car brand” – had, for the period from Jan-Oct 2019 (the most recent available set of sales figures), outsold Alfa Romeo in the European market (circa 50,000 sales for Lancia and 46,000 for Alfa Romeo). Forget producing a 700+bhp 8C model to take on the likes of McLaren, Ferrari or Porsche – they can’t even compete with the Lancia Ypsilon, a 12 year old car based on a Fiat 500 chassis.

          Alfa Romeo might be their sporty/luxury brand, but the problem is that nobody seems to want it – and those plummeting sales have choked the company of funding, which seems to be why they’ve now had to stop developing several of the models that were being planned. If sponsoring a team in F1 was meant to help them build sales, it clearly hasn’t worked – all it’s doing is helping to bleed the company dry.

          Turning it into a BEV would also have problems, as I believe that PSA already planned to do that with Opel/Vauxhall – whilst having that as a more mass market option and Alfa Romeo as a more upmarket brand might work, the problem there is that you’d then be trying to break into a market where there are already several companies that have a head start on them.

          Marchionne had the desire to turn Alfa Romeo around, but despite what he did with the wider FCA group, Alfa Romeo was always a problem – he’d tried four different growth plans, and all of them failed to deliver. The future of Alfa Romeo might well be riding pretty much entirely on the Tonale now – despite its heritage, Alfa Romeo looks extremely vulnerable right now.

          1. Agree with most you wrote #anon, but I think it will be disastrous if they kill off the brand. Which FCAPSA car will then compete against Mercedes, BMW, Audi, etc?
            I’m aware of the sales figures of Lancia, but the problem is that they only sell that small car. The more they sell it (like their minivan before) the less appealing the brand is.

            I am an Alfa Romeo fan. My first ‘car’ (or 3rd set of wheels) was an Alfa, and the car has always been on my shortlist (although not always available where I lived). But IMO Alfa went the wrong direction when introducing the (latest) Guiletta and the MiTo. Fun cars but lowering the appeal of the brand. The Germans long understood that and moved away from the small cars by making them bigger A-class and 1-series or by cutting them altogether A1.
            If the Guilietta were a slightly smaller Giulia (not a hatch) and if they had already launched the Tonale then the brand (again IMO) would have been a lot stronger. And they still would have had room for a new GTV and 4C/spider.
            It’s late, but I hate to accept that it’s too late.

          2. Alfa is a sales mess here in Brisbane, Australia, to the point that the local dealership has just closed, in a city of 2.3 million. The same dealership owns Ferrari, BMW, Rolls Royce and Volvo so are not exactly short a dollar.

            The Alfa pricing was just too expensive with poor brand desirability so the state of Queensland (5 million people) no longer has an Alfa dealership.

            Bizzare indeed!

          3. @coldfly, it depends on how exactly you are thinking of it, because in the case of the MiTo and the Giulietta, they make sense when you look at the relatively high dependency that Alfa Romeo has on the domestic Italian market.

            When you look at the time those cars were launched, which is the late 2000s, Alfa Romeo’s plans were centred on the European market – now, those cars make sense when looking at that market, as the C-segment is the largest by sales volume in Europe, and particularly so in Italy.

            For the markets they were intended to serve, those models make sense and are still some of Alfa’s better selling models. The subsequent facelifts and refreshes the car has had were actually aiming at your strategy – making it feel like a more premium product – but it doesn’t help that it sits on a decade old chassis, and that is eroding sales when their rivals have been bringing out fresher models.

            Also, I’m going to have to correct you about the comment you’ve made on the Audi A1 – far from cutting that model, Audi’s invested in a second generation of that model which was launched in mid 2018. Perhaps it has been cut in your market, but the car is very much alive in other markets – and the new car is a more compact car than the Giulietta to boot (about 320mm shorter and about 50mm narrower), so Audi evidently still sees value in that strategy.

            Homerlovesbeer does hit on the problem – Alfa Romeo might have a certain cachet, but the problem is that it takes time to build up that desirability; there is a risk that trying to go upmarket results in a car that is too expensive for the mass market, but lacks the desirability to sell to a more selective market.

  5. Nice house.

    1. Tomorrow we’ll see where his kids went to school, following by images of pets and lthe ocal church.
      Exciting times for F1 journalism ;)

      1. Bah Humbug

      2. Exciting times to be on a forum, reading a variation of the same gripe by the same poster every damn day. ;)

  6. So he is certain now there will be no calls from Ferrari or Merc.

    1. I have an opinion
      2nd January 2020, 14:44

      Au contraire, the off-season teambuilding is because he is hoping for a call. He needs to buff his CV against Ocon and must play politics to minimise any Ocon favouritism by Renault.

  7. It’s interesting and somewhat disturbing that the responsibility for team building and morale has fallen to the driver. This is surely a KPI for senior management. Something is lacking at Renault if Ricciardo feels the need to take on the role for himself.

  8. @ AA….What you are saying is essentially correct. Daniel comes from a team that is very much [from an external viewpoint ] extremely cohesive. They are a very motivated team who never cease to create an environment of fun coupled with a winning discipline., always willing to do something ‘off grid’ to get a result. It’s that combination of knowing that you’ve thrown everything at it and have done your best. Renault don’t seem to exhibit that ‘esprit’ witnessed at Red Bull. IIRC Daniel said this some time back when he said they have to present at the race as if they intend to win…whether or not they do is in fact inconsequential. It’s largely based on self belief and Red Bull have that in bucketloads. Renault should take heed as this is a fundamental brick in the wall. Some will say that it’s vital to manage your expectations and that’s quite true but you won’t get wins unless you believe that you can. Give the drivers the car and the support then wins will follow.

  9. Somehow unless Renault produce a really quick car from the first race, and have a good season, I cannot see Danny Ric staying in the team for the long term…and I cannot see Renault having that car…..

Comments are closed.