Friday, 12 october 2018, 08:10 , by Matthew Scott
Mark Webber hopes Daniel Ricciardo's move to Renault proves to be an "inspired decision", but admits concerns over his fellow Australian's prospects. In Webber's words, Ricciardo will take "one step back" in order to realise his Formula 1 ambitions, banking on Renault's development.
Ricciardo will depart Red Bull after a decade under the team's tutelage – the last five years in the senior F1 squad.
In that time, Ricciardo has won seven grands prix, but he has never been a title contender – to his admitted chagrin, having joined on the back of a glittering run between 2010 and 2013.
Ricciardo says he has seen enough from Renault to suggest that a title tilt could be on the cards in 2021 and Webber has his fingers crossed.
"He's absolutely world class, we know that, he's top notch, he is one of the best on Sundays, there's no question about it," Webber told Fairfax Media.
"Let's see. I hope it's an inspired decision, we'll all have to sit back and watch, but the move is under a little bit of heat, it has to work for him.
"He knows in the short term it's going to be [a step back]. He'll be behind Red Bull next year. He's banking on the long term there. That's the concern.
"That's what you've got to do sometimes, you've got to be one step back, two steps forward.
"He has to be realistic about what's possible there and find out what he can realistically do with the time he's got left.
"He's got a lot of time left... but we all would like to see him in a more competitive situation than he's going to be in in the next two years."