Daniel Ricciardo is on a similar salary to his old Red Bull pay packet, according to his new boss, who has slammed reports of a monstrous yearly wage.
An English newspaper claimed ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that the Renault driver had jumped to No.3 on the Formula One salaries list.
The Mirror reported Ricciardo as earning close to $49 million this year, behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ($56m) and Mercedes champion Lewis Hamilton ($74m).
But Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has now expanded on comments he made in January, when he said he hadn’t paid “stupid money” for Ricciardo.
“We have not tried to be silly about that, all the speculation about his salary are completely crap and I really want to take that away,” the Frenchman told Speedcafe this week.
“(Ricciardo is) clearly not here for the money, I mean it’s no different to what he would have received at Red Bull or anywhere else. That’s not the driving force behind his decision.”
A salary close to his Red Bull wage would likely put Ricciardo somewhere either side of $15m.
The 29-year-old joined Renault in the hope that he could replicate Hamilton’s move to Mercedes in 2013.
The German outfit finished fourth, fourth and fifth after buying Brawn GP ahead of the 2010 season.
Mercedes jumped to second in Hamilton’s first season and have since won five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
“Renault is a factory team. It’s a very big car maker; 40 years of very successful history in the sport,” Abiteboul said.
“So having a responsibility in contributing to that, I think (Ricciardo) liked, was up for the challenge.
“I think what we’ve done during those meetings was simply be honest and treating him like an adult, like a grown up that obviously he is.”
Ricciardo has previously said he felt boxed in by Red Bull, opting to break free of his connection to their junior program.
But his Renault debut in Melbourne went poorly, forced to retire from the first race of the season following front-wing damage on the first lap.
“We are determined to show more in Bahrain,” Abiteboul said ahead of this weekend’s race.
“We have to underline the step we’ve made on the engine side, and the second grand prix of 2019 is an opportunity to showcase that. We will bring some aero updates, as we will do at every race.
“We also need to target consistency over the course of the entire weekend, delivering a balanced and reliable car in all sessions to allow the drivers to extract respective maximum performance.
“Equally, we need to target operational excellence in all areas. Having both cars inside the points is the target and we want to show the qualities of our team. We have to be hard on ourselves if we’re to keep on our path.”
All figures quoted in Australian dollars