The 2019 Renault RS19 Formula 1 car that will be driven by Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo.
The 2019 Renault RS19 Formula 1 car that will be driven by Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo debut ‘promising’ despite slowest time

Daniel Ricciardo admits he was in learning mode as he made his official testing debut for new team Renault in Barcelona, but can't wait to develop his "new relationship".

The Aussie star hit the track for his first official testing session in his new yellow and black machine on Tuesday morning (AEST) on the first day of Formula One testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Ricciardo completed 44 laps during his session in the car with a best lap time of 1:20.983, which was the slowest time among the 11 drivers that hit the track on day one.

But the Perth racer wasn't necessarily concerned with his place in the standings, rather settling into his new car and building mileage in what he described as a "promising" start ahead of next month's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Ricciardo stunned the F1 world last year when he made the decision to switch to the French manufacturer after five years with Red Bull Racing.

"It's a good feeling to be behind the wheel of a Formula One car again after a long winter waiting,'' Ricciardo said.

"Today was about bedding ourselves back into it and, for me, continuing to learn about a new car and a new team.

"It was a decent afternoon and it's important we keep increasing our mileage. We have plenty to analyse but it's been a promising first official day.

"I'm excited to hit the track again and develop this new relationship.''

Ricciardo and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg will share driving duties each day during the first four-day pre-season test this week. He will be in the car for the morning session on day two.

Hulkenberg, entering his third season with Renault, had the first stint in the car on day one and completed 65 laps with a best time of 1:20.980.

After his morning session, the German was happy with the car's performance, but had not noticed any significant changes to the car from last year.

"First impressions are OK. I would say just all right for now. The car ran without any big problems this morning, 65 laps I think is a decent start,'' Hulkenberg said.

"It doesn't feel a completely different animal, it was a more a feeling like coming home. For me anyway, it hasn't changed that much. We have the same steering wheel for example, the seating position is very similar, so perhaps I also wasn't expecting a huge difference.

"Obviously the aero regulations it was difficult to judge and anticipate how that would impact the feeling, but for now it's not so much different.

"I would say yes ( there is more engine power), but then again we have a lot more drag with the rear wing so you have less of that sensation, it's like pulling a parachute now across the straight. You just see that massive rear wing in the mirrors and obviously that has an impact on the feel of power."