Ricciardo dealt a devastating blow
Renault has been disqualified from the Japanese Grand Prix and Daniel Ricciardo stripped of his points after his team was ruled to have used an illegal driver aid in its car during the race two weekends ago.
Ricciardo crossed the line sixth at Suzuka, picking up eight points and teammate Nico Hulkenberg scored a solitary point for his 10th-placed finish but both drivers have been docked their tallies because of the rule breach.
Racing Point lodged a protest in Japan, alleging a breach of the Sporting and Technical Regulations and FIA International Sporting Code over a "pre-set lap distance-dependent brake bias adjustment system".
Renault disputed the allegation but while an investigation found no technical regulations were broken, the brake bias adjustment system was deemed to be an illegal driver aid.
Stewards said: "The brake balance adjustment system in question acts as a driver aid, by saving the driver from having to make a number of adjustments during a lap.
"The Stewards note that there is a clear distinction between this system and one which provides actual feedback control, which could be a substitute for driver skills or reflexes. Nevertheless, it is still an aid and, therefore, contravenes Article 27.1 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations."
The decision sees Lance Stroll (Racing Point) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) move into ninth and 10th, while Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Racing Point's Sergio Perez also climbed up the leaderboard into sixth, seventh and eighth.
It's another blow for Ricciardo in what's been a hugely disappointing debut season with Renault, who he joined after quitting Red Bull at the end of 2018.
In his previous six races before the Japanese GP Ricciardo had retired twice, come 14th three times and picked up points just once when he finished fourth in Italy.
Before being stripped of his points the Aussie was ninth in the drivers' standings, one place ahead of Hulkenberg, and Renault was treading water in fifth in the constructors' championship behind McLaren, failing in its bid to be the best team outside the Big Three of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
Renault's disqualification will add another sour note to a frustrating year and be especially devastating for Ricciardo after he started the Japanese GP 16th on the grid because a suspension issue crippled his qualifying run, then bounced back admirably to mow down the field and finish sixth.
Ricciardo said before Japan he could see heads within the camp were dropping but was hopeful his performance would help lift the mood and drive the French outfit to finish the season on a high note.
"Certainly (after qualifying) I was thinking, 'Same kind of crap' and that we can't really get a break with issues and whatever," Ricciardo said, according to Motorsport.com."But I feel like we finally got a result we deserve.
"We've got back-to-backs (races) coming up now, some fun ones. So hopefully we can get a string of points finishes and try to just get something for the team.
"We get there, and then we drop, kind of the heads drop a bit, and we're trying to get back up. So just for everyone's sake we need to try to keep some positivity before the year is out."
But any hopes of a confidence boost will have been ruined by Renault's disqualification.
The French outfit has until Friday morning (AEDT) to appeal the decision.
There are four races remaining in the year. The next grand prix is in Mexico this weekend with events to follow in America, Brazil and the UAE.
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