Chandhok: 'A-lister' Ricciardo moving to Renault a year too early

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Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok believes Renault isn't ready to take full advantage of 'A-lister' Daniel Ricciardo, with the French outfit still seeking to establish itself as F1's fourth best team.

The Aussie shock the F1 community last summer when he decided to leave front-runners Red Bull Racing and switch his allegiance to Renault, an outfit still in the process of building its foundation.

While the move was welcomed with incredible enthusiasm by the crews at Enstone, Chandhok believes it has come a year too soon for both team and driver.

Having Ricciardo as an ‘A-lister’ join them has kind of caught them slightly off-guard," said Chandhok, speaking 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."


Chandhok, who will return to Sky Sports F1's team of commentators this year, sees another fierce mid-field battle ahead, but chances of anyone bridging the gap with Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull are remote

"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 added.

"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."

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