Monday, 24 december 2018, 05:03 , by Martin Macdonald
Former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber has admitted that he would have preferred that his compatriot, Daniel Ricciardo, stayed with Red Bull instead of making the move to Renault, as he doesn't believe the French team have the strength to compete at the top of the grid currently.
The decision was made by Ricciardo during the summer to leave Red Bull for Renault for the 2019 season, with the former subsequently replacing him with Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso.
Webber, who previously drove for Red Bull, has revealed a desire for Ricciardo to have remained with the team - something which he has told Ricciardo face to face.
"I think we're all a bit concerned about it," Webber told Macquarie Sports Radio.
"The people in the industry would have liked him to [stay]. I'm still reasonably close to Red Bull. 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."
Webber doesn't believe that Renault have the current infrastructure to compete with the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull in Ricciardo's first campaign in 2019, but reckons that could change in 2020 when new regulations are introduced.
"I think the funding and the backing and with Honda coming, I don't think they'll be incredibly strong next year," he continued.
"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 ... 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."