AUSSIE F1 golden boy Daniel Ricciardo has called time on his Red Bull Racing tenure to join the Renault Formula 1 Team from 2019, but speaking to Wheels at the Los Angeles Auto Show, compatriot ex-racer Mark Webber suggested the Honey Badger may live to regret his decision.
“It’s a concern, yeah. It’s a concern,” he said.
“I would rather him have stayed where he was, because there’s podiums and currency staying in the front few rows, irrespective of where Max [Verstappen] is.
“[Max is] a tough nut to crack, we know that, but you’ve got to be with him to try and at least have a crack.
“Renault, it is a concern the next few years. I like the team, I really like Enstone as a base, but engine-wise I think it’s a bit of a concern when you’ve just signed and the team boss says ‘we’ve got to get some budget caps in place’ – you don’t want to hear that as a driver.”
Ricciardo has amassed seven wins and 29 podium places from 100 starts with the Red Bull team, compared to Verstappen’s five wins and 22 podiums from 58 grands prix.
However, Renault bosses have warned Ricciardo it may be two years before their car is strong enough to add to his tally.
“He needs a nice quiet winter, regroup and come back,” says Webber. “But I think the top three teams are still going to be miles ahead.”
In fact, the Porsche ambassador predicts the performance gap between the top teams and the rest of the field may grow wider from next year with the incoming aerodynamic changes.
“This  front wing, I know Red Bull alone has probably spent around 15 million Euros (A$23 million) just on the front wing changes. Sauber might have one million (A$1.5 million), you know?”
Changes for next year and 2020 include an updated (and supposedly simplified) front wing, changes to brake duct, bargeboard and rear wing design, as well as fuel and weight limit changes aimed at improving the spectacle.
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