Renault signed 'A-lister' driver too soon - Chandhok

  • 13 Jan 2019 15:34
  • comments 5
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Ex-Formula 1 driver-turned-pundit Karun Chandhok believes that Renault is still too far behind the winning teams to sign a top tier driver. Seven-time Grand Prix victor Daniel Ricciardo signed a two year deal with Renault after spending five years with Red Bull.

Renault is currently building back towards the front of the field after rejoining the grid in 2016. It ended the 2018 season fourth in the constructors' standings, 29 points clear of Haas, but is still far from being able to compete against the championship contending teams.

But Chandhok, who will work with Sky Sports F1 as a pundit in 2019, doesn't think that the team is ready to work with an already established driver.

"Having Ricciardo as an ‘A-lister’ join them has kind of caught them slightly off-guard,” Chandhok said at the Autosport International show. “It’s probably a year [too] early for them until they are really ready for a top line driver.

"I think a good year for them will be fourth and maybe the odd podium and sort of establishing themselves as fourth. Last year they weren’t clearly ahead of Force India or Haas in terms of pace and this year they need to do that. They are the manufacturer team on the path to becoming a top team, so they’ve got to establish themselves as clearly the fourth best."

And Chandhok doesn't believe that anyone will be able to make significant progress to close down Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in front: "You’ve got Force India with new investment and new money coming in, Haas have had a great year and are going to want to build on that with their collaboration with Ferrari,” he said.

“Both McLaren and Williams are going to look to have better years, and Toro Rosso, they are collaborating much more closely with Red Bull than they have in the past and then there’s Sauber with Kimi Raikkonen. The midfield was super tight last year, so it will remain close but I don’t think any of the midfield teams are going to bridge the gap to the top three in 2019.”

Replies (5)

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  • xoya

    Posts: 303

    LoL man. They all decided to join in on spitting at Hulk...

    • + 0
    • Jan 13 2019 - 17:28
  • f1dave

    Posts: 579

    Looks like Sky Sports signed a 'B Lister' as a pundit for 2019.

    • + 0
    • Jan 13 2019 - 18:15
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,045

    So Renault got an top driver and this is bad some how? It looks like Ricciardo had his heart set on moving and Renault was the best option available. For me this works for both Renault and Ricciardo so this isn't a bad deal.

    Also this gives some clues on the level of drivers. If Ricciardo finds it hard against Hulk then Hulk has been massively underrated, if not then Sainz was overrated. Either way Ricciardo is an top driver that will help the team moving forward on the grid if there is enough investment by Renault.

    • + 0
    • Jan 13 2019 - 20:48
  • mcbhargav

    Posts: 856

    Here is the issue. You won't get an A-lister when you want one. RIC knew the risk when he signed up. I would argue Renault would do a better job than both Haas and RPF1, and with added possibility of beating Redbulls in an odd race.

    • + 0
    • Jan 14 2019 - 01:54
  • Here is why it could be bad: if they sign a "star driver" (at least a talented driver whom also was lucky enough to get a top 3 race seat) too early, it'll put more pressure on them to get good. Ricciardo will surely expect to be able to at least fight for top 5 positions every now and then. If they cant deliver on that, they'll risk backlash. Renault havent really convinced me last year, when they only really got ahead of Force India due to the reboot and got ahead of Haas due to their drivers committing to their hobby of performing Maldonado interpretations.

    • + 0
    • Jan 14 2019 - 17:43

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