Renault not ready for 'top line driver' Daniel Ricciardo claims Karun Chandhok
Renault is not ready for a "top line driver" just yet according to former Formula 1 driver and Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok.
Daniel Ricciardo will join the French squad for the 2019 season, but Chandhok believes the move is a year too soon for Renault as it won't be able to satisfy Ricciardo's expectations, having come from a race-winning team to a manufacturer that is still building up its outfit.
Although Renault finished fourth in the standings the team would have only been 11 points ahead of Force India, had the team not lost the points it earned before it went into administration, and finished only 29 ahead of Haas, having struggled with development mid-season.
The team failed to score a single podium, whereas Red Bull scored 13 podiums (four of those wins) and 419 points.
Chandhok therefore believes Renault should have proven itself before looking to hire a big name driver such as Ricciardo.
"Having Ricciardo as an ‘A-lister’ join them has kind of caught them slightly off-guard,” said Chandhok at ASI.
“It’s probably a year early for them until they are really ready for a top line driver. I think a good year for them will be fourth [in the standings] 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 is also concnerned there's an increased risk that Renault might struggle to finish fourth in 2019 given the tight midfield and the increased risk from its key rivals.
“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," said Chandhok.
“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."