Ex-Formula 1 star Mark Webber says fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo will excel for Renault in 2020, but next year? Not so much.
Webber admits he is concerned by Ricciardo’s departure from Red Bull and fears Renault will be just making up the numbers next season.
Webber claims he has even told Ricciardo about his doubts to his face.
“I think we’re all a bit concerned about it,” ex-Red Bull driver Webber told Macquarie Sports Radio. “The people in the industry would have liked him to (stay). I’m still reasonably close to Red Bull.”
“I’ve had the odd dinner with Daniel. He knows where my position is on this – it hasn’t changed. I would have loved him to stay at Red Bull.”
Ricciardo cut ties with Red Bull at the end of an underwhelming 2018 F1 season in which the ever-smiling Australian had little to grin about, finishing a distant sixth in the standings with just two wins.
He links with Nico Hulkenberg who placed seventh overall after missing the podium entirely this year.
The 29-year-old Ricciardo has talked up the chances of his new outfit catching F1’s “big three” next year after Renualt finished fourth in the constructors’ championship, a distant 297 points shy of third-placed Red Bull.
Webber – who was replaced by Ricciardo at Red Bull in 2014 – said the popular Australian would taste success with his new team but would have to wait at least a year to savour it.
“I think the funding and the backing and with Honda coming, I don’t think they’ll be incredibly strong next year,” he said. “But by 2020, I think they could be a very special outfit to be with again.”
“To get the results that Red Bull are going to get next year is going to be challenging for him to say the least.
“Renault … want budget caps, headcount caps, they want all sort of decreases in salaries across the board to get the parity of the sport up there.”
“I think when you’ve just arrived there as a driver, and you have a team that’s giving that sort of position, that’s a concern,” added Webber.
Big Question: Has Daniel made a mistake ditching Red Bull for Renault?