Daniel Ricciardo goes into the weekend’s Formula One season finale accepting his Red Bull team’s prospects for a resurgence in 2016 remain clouded.
The 26-year-old Australian will be glad to see the back of the 2015 season after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having notched just two podium finishes as the Red Bull cars struggled in 2015.
An apparent lack of power means the team will finish fourth in the constructor’s championship, their worst result since 2008, leading to the Austrian outfit reportedly cutting ties with their Renault engine suppliers.
Ricciardo was wary of making any bold predictions for next season.
“I will know a bit more when we know what is going to be in the back of the car,” Ricciardo told motorsport.com.
“Right now, where we stand, it is hard to say that we are going to challenge for the title - but I would like to think that next year we can get more than two podiums.
“Quite a few (engine) suppliers turned us down, but it is not concerning just a bit of a shame.
“You see their reasons, but we have a pretty good chassis so they were a little bit scared. Whatever. We will take what we can for now and then look to 2016.”
Ricciardo has managed 84 points this season, 154 less than he did in last year’s championship efforts which included three wins as he finished third in the driver standings.
He enters the Abu Dhabi race eighth in the 2015 standings, and appears consigned to finish behind younger teammate Daniil Kvyat, who he trails by 10 points.
Long speculation surrounding the Red Bull team’s future in the sport led Ricciardo to even consider a stint in NASCAR as a next career move, however the team’s decision to sign on for the 2016 season earlier in November allayed those fears.
“Obviously it was dragging on a bit. But now the team has confirmed we will be on grid, and I know I have a job for next year, that is already a good thing,” he said.
The Australian is signed to Red Bull until the end of the 2016 season.