Ricciardo spills on F1 rivals

Daniel Ricciardo will take a pay cut to help Renault through the coronavirus pandemic, according to his F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

The Australian is one of the sport’s highest paid drivers, earning as much as AU$40 million a year, according to media reports.

Abiteboul told French newspaper L’Equipe Ricciardo’s salary would not be a destabilising factor after the French carmaker furloughed most of their F1 staff at the Enstone factory in central England.

“It’s a discussion we’ve already had. Daniel has already confirmed he is willing … I can confirm to you that he will reduce it,” said the Frenchman.

Asked whether the 30-year-old’s wages could pose an image problem, Abiteboul replied: “The problem would have been if he had not accepted the idea.

“We still have to fix the terms but, in principle, I can reassure the Renault group management committee; I do not fear it will destabilise the F1 program.”

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul.Source:Getty Images

Ricciardo also revealed his top five “most underrated” F1 drivers on Twitter. His list includes the late Jules Bianchi – who Ricciardo says would be in a top team by now – and Sky F1 pundit Jenson Button.

On Bianchi, he wrote: “It wasn't like Jules was underrated, but we never got to see him in a top car, so maybe people didn't appreciate how good he was going to be. You think of his drive in that Marussia in Monaco in 2014, the team’s first points.

“Monaco is like Macau in that there’s no way to fluke a result there, it was absolutely on merit.

“As a junior through karting, Jules was the guy. We met training at Formula Medicine in Viareggio in Italy and everyone, even at that age when we were all 17, everyone treated him like he was an F1 driver already. I got to know him and we became friends, and I quickly got to know who he was and what he’d done before I arrived in Europe.

“It’s another part of what makes his story so sad, because he would have been in a top team and a race-winner by now for sure. In some ways, I feel Charles is doing now what Jules would have been doing, it’s like Charles is the delayed version of what Jules would have done with the success he’s having.”

Daniel Ricciardo and Cyril Abiteboul before the Australian Grand Prix in March.Source:News Corp Australia

Meanwhile, Ricciardo had this to say about Button: “Jenson had some big years in F1, but I think 2011 when he was teammates with Lewis at McLaren and beat Lewis fair and square – that's no easy feat as we all know – was what gets him onto my list. He beat him on ‘real’ circuits like Suzuka, and his raw pace that year … he was at his best in 2011, I reckon.

“Jenson did it a bit differently to most of the others too, he had a good crew around him and he was low-key, low-maintenance and just a smooth, silky operator. He's still the best I’ve seen in those not-quite-wet, not-quite-dry conditions, that sketch weather. And that win in Canada 2011 – two races before I started my career, actually – was one of the best F1 races ever.”

The other racers Ricciardo mentioned in the social media post were Marcus Ericsson, Roberto Merhi and Tonio Liuzzi.

Hope you're all staying safe.
I'm gonna do something a little different for 2020 and share a diary. Some inner thoughts on racing, a few on life outside of F1, some lists, a bit of music & other sports.
Here is the first one, I'll aim to do one a month 🙂
Daniel pic.twitter.com/U9xTGTJKt2

This article originally appeared in Sky Sports and was republished with permission

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