Abiteboul said Ricciardo had “delivered positively” in his two-year stint at Renault, but added that when he is wearing McLaren colours this season, he will have a fight on his hands to beat the team he has just left, which will be rebranded as Alpine for this year.

“He has delivered positively and the irony in all of this is that I believe we are a much stronger team now and he will have to race a much stronger team next year,” said Abiteboul at the final race of 2020.

“[But] we’re also glad to see him in a great team and we look forward to an exciting battle against McLaren and Daniel next year.”

“Frankly when he joined we knew that it would take a bit of time, that he was not coming into a turn-key organisation,” explained Abiteboul.

“I think I remember those exact words said to Daniel back in the first meeting back in 2018. It was not a turn-key organisation, but he made an impact and we are so different today to what we were two years and a half ago when we decided to form this partnership.”

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