There may be a huge reason Daniel Ricciardo’s always so happy.
There may be a huge reason Daniel Ricciardo’s always so happy.

Ricciardo’s massive pay rise revealed

F1 star Daniel Ricciardo may have moved to the "best of the rest" with his Renault move but the Aussie has moved into the big boys in terms of remuneration.

UK publication The Mirror revealed the pay packets of each of the F1 drivers, which is led by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (AU$73.9 million) and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel ($56.3m).

But after leaving Red Bull Racing for Renault, Ricciardo has reportedly almost tripled his salary with his two-year deal worth a mouth-watering $49m a season.

Even better for Ricciardo, he will reportedly be paid substantially more than former Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, who will earn a reported $18.5m for the 2019 season.

However, Renault believe the investment in Ricciardo is worth it as the team aim to return to the penthouse in F1.

In January, Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said the team hadn't paid "stupid money" for Ricciardo, especially with all that comes with the Aussie star.

"There is a considerable financial commitment from Renault," Abiteboul told Motorsport.

"But it is not a question of whether Renault can afford it: it can definitely afford it as our turnover is 40 times the turnover of Red Bull. There is no question mark about that.

"The question mark is about the value. Does it make sense to invest that type of money in a driver at the level of Daniel at this point of our journey, with the car that we have and the other expense that we must do? We believe so.

"There has been some discussion about that. Would we be better off investing in to the car or the drivers?

"I think we have reached a point where we can invest in both reasonably."

Speaking with Fairfax Media, Ricciardo said another reason behind his move from Red Bull to Renault was because he's ready to lead a team.

Having been competing with Max Verstappen at Red Bull, Ricciardo said he had to change to get the opportunity he wanted.

"There's more of a chance for me to do that at Renault," he said.

"Coming here, people know a little of what I'm like, but they don't really know me. People in this team now are meeting me as a 29-year-old, where a lot of people (at Red Bull) met me as the 20-year-old young kid.

"I'm not saying they treated me like a kid from then on, but they knew me as a kid, more what I used to be than what I eventually became. That's why I have more opportunity here to create something.

Renault are a team on the rise.
Renault are a team on the rise.

"To think that you've got the chance to lead a team of, say, 1000 people, it's intimidating and exhilarating at the same time.

"To think that you could have that much power is humbling, but I do acknowledge that I have some power to rally people together. The first thing I needed to do was recognise that I could have a lot of influence. I'm excited to take that on."

Ricciardo has long been seen as one of the most talented drivers on the grid.

Even Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told the Herald Sun "we always had an eye on Daniel" but didn't make a move with the talent they already had, while potentially leaving the door open in the future for the 29-year-old Ricciardo.

The F1 season kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next weekend (from March 14) with the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Ricciardo was happy with the changes from the team and is hoping to close the gap substantial gap back to Renault in fourth with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull well out in front.

As well as pushing for the top three, Renault are also fielding challenges from Haas, McLaren and Racing Point in a congested midfield.

Ricciardo tried to ease concerns ahead of next week's season opener in Melbourne, saying Renault would adopt a different approach this season which he believed would keep them "ahead of the curve".

"I think the philosophy this year will be quite different as far as the upgrades we get," Ricciardo said.

"I think the plan and the structuring is going to change, and their philosophy on what to bring and when to bring it. I believe that is going to change.

"I will be part of that and trust that process, and hope we are staying ahead of the curve."

Ricciardo was adamant great gains were ahead for Renault's engine with the French manufacturer pouring cash into their F1 arm, resulting in encouraging recent test results in Spain.

Ricciardo was 12th fastest overall at recent F1 testing but teammate Nico Hulkenberg was fourth quickest behind only the drivers from early title favourites Ferrari and Mercedes.

Renault's engine technical director Remi Taffin claimed the team had made "great gains" in the off-season judging by test results.

"It's actually a big step that we did over the winter, it's one of the biggest we did over the last five years," he said.

Ricciardo will be looking to improve on his best finish at Melbourne - fourth place which he has achieved twice.

No Australian has made the Albert Park podium since it became a world championship round in 1985.

- with AAP