Former Grand Prix driver Mark Webber admits that he is concerned for Daniel Ricciardo's future following his decision to join Renault. Ricciardo opted to leave Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season to join the Enstone squad, who is attempting to resurge back towards the front of the grid.
Renault returned to F1 in 2016, and while it has made significant gains in the midfield battle, it has a large gap to close before it contests with the top three teams, which includes Red Bull.
Ricciardo had a frustrating 2018 season that was blighted by poor reliability, however he did pick up two victories - his only podiums of the year. Renault has not yet finished inside the top three since its return, but has injected stronger investment over the last season.
Next season, Red Bull will link up with Honda as its official power unit supplier. While the Japanese manufacturer has been playing catch-up with its rivals, Webber believes that Red Bull-Honda will be a strong force in two years' time, leaving him to question Ricciardo's decision.
“I think we’re all a bit concerned about it,” Webber said. “The people in the industry would have liked him to (stay). I’m still reasonably close to Red Bull as is my buddy David Coulthard, we’ve spoken about it often, 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. I think the funding and the backing and with Honda coming, I don’t think they’ll be incredibly strong next year 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, the team he’s going to next year, they want budget caps, head count 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.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing