He has a car and a contract but Daniel Ricciardo must wait to learn whether he will be more competitive in the 2016 Formula One season.
Ricciardo ended the championship at Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a sixth-place finish that epitomised a season of frustrations.Like every other car in the F1 field, his Renault-powered Red Bull drive has been left in the wake of the rampant Mercedes duo of world champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
It was the same story in Abu Dhabi, where Rosberg won ahead of Hamilton, leaving Ricciardo in a group of drivers fighting for scraps.
“Sixth is probably not that representative of how good our weekend was, but I’m pretty pleased,” he said.
“I would love to go racing next weekend but at the same time I’m happy the season is over and I’m optimistic that next year will be better.
“We ended the season well and feel I got the most out of the car, so I’m leaving the season more happy than I was a few races ago.”
Ricciardo’s season fell well short of his breakout 2014 championship when the West Australian was third overall, behind only the Mercedes duo.He finished eighth in 2015, three points behind younger team-mate Daniil Kyvat, with two podium finishes - a second placing in Singapore and a third in Hungary.
Ricciardo has been blighted by engine woes of his Red Bull team which prompted his team boss Christan Horner to consider an exit from the championship.On the eve of the Abu Dhabi race, Horner confirmed the Red Bull team would be on next year’s grid.
“We’ve entered the world championship, we’ve signed a contract for an engine, but I can’t tell you what it’ll be or called at the moment,” he said.
Pit-lane talk suggests Horner will give manufacturers Renault another chance to produce a competitive engine.
Whatever the result, Ricciardo has learnt plenty about patience and diplomacy this year.
“I think we ended the season with a lot more feeling and confidence in the chassis,” he said.
“This season has made us stronger as a unit and I’m happy to move forward with these guys to be better next year.”