EXCLUSIVE | Mark Webber’s ‘concern’ over Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Renault
Australian Formula One legend Mark Webber says Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Renault could be a major “concern” come next season.
Ricciardo reportedly back-flipped on a verbal agreement to remain with Red Bull Racing earlier this season and instead join rivals Renault – in what could be a career-defining move for the 29-year-old.
The talented Aussie firebrand has showed glimpses of the potential he has with seven race wins and 29 podiums in his eight-year career.
However, a string of technical difficulties has halted the Australian’s success in the Formula One arena for the man renowned for celebrating race victories with a ‘shoey’.
And while Ricciardo hopes a move will bring a change of fortunes, his old teammate Webber says he would have liked to have seen him stay at Red Bull.
“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 Coulthhard, we’ve spoken about if 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.”
Webber also admitted the favouritism given to teammate Max Verstappen would have played a role in his decision also.
It’s a situation all too familiar for Webber – who’s teammate at the time Sebastian Vettel also received that same sort of preferential treatment towards the back-end of the Australian’s career.
The veteran Aussie had nine wins and 42 podiums in his 12-year career, with second his career-best finish in the Drivers’ Championship.
Ricciardo finished sixth in 2018 behind champion Lewis Hamilton and will desperately hope a change of teams can spark his Formula One career.
Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below: