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Ricciardo - "No black eyes or punches in the stomach" after Renault exit decision

Ricciardo - "No black eyes or punches in the stomach" after Renault exit decision

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Ricciardo - "No black eyes or punches in the stomach" after Renault exit decision

Ricciardo - "No black eyes or punches in the stomach" after Renault exit decision

Daniel Ricciardo believes enough water has passed under the bridge since announcing his exit from Renault that there will be no lingering animosity from the team when Formula 1 returns next weekend.

Ricciardo caused a stir in mid-May when it was confirmed he would be leaving Renault at the end of this season to join McLaren, succeeding Carlos Sainz who is to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.

While it is a decision that naturally did not go down well at the time inside the walls of Renault's two bases at Enstone and Viry, Ricciardo is confident the only focus come the opening grand prix in Austria will be on the racing.

"Maybe the first time I see some people in the team there might that moment of perhaps...I don't know if the word is awkwardness. I went through it a couple of years ago," said Ricciardo, referring to the time in 2018 after he announced to Red Bull he was leaving to join Renault.

"But I think because time has passed since the news now, I've spoken to - if not seen - some members of the team, and it's really back to business.

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"We're all excited to get racing again, as we know in a week, and hopefully we get a bundle of races, and we get a chance to finish this out strong.

"From my side, it's certainly put behind me, and that [his switch to McLaren] is not in my train of thought at the moment, and it won't be until next year. We'll just get on with it."

The 30-year-old Australian then joked: "I've spent a couple of days in the sim as well, seen a few people around the factory, and no black eyes or punches in the stomach, so we're all moving in and we'll give it our all for the rest of the year."

Ricciardo also recently spent a test day with the race team, running the 2018 car in a bid to get back up to speed after such a long period of inactivity, and for the mechanics and engineers to become accustomed to the new protocols in place to cope with Covid-19.

Ricciardo claims the camaraderie was still in place, adding: "It was really cool to be involved in the environment again. The thing is with F1 we all have an obsessive passion for what we do.

"I rocked up to the circuit, it was only a test day, but I was kind of skipping, excited, and seeing mechanics, engineers just so happy to be back, even with some restrictions in place. It's like we all have this passion.

"We've been deprived for a few months but we've been able to get it back to nearly 100 per cent now. There is certainly a feeling of family, and that's among all teams.

"We all spend so much of the year with each other, not having that for a few months, I could tell last week we had missed each other.

"I weirdly even missed the drivers. I can't wait to go head to head and to battle, so looking forward to everything we've missed."

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