Renault are not ready to have an "A-lister" driver like Daniel Ricciardo in their line-up, according to former Formula 1 driver turned pundit Karun Chandhok, who believes that Ricciardo has taken himself too far away from the top teams for the 2019 campaign.
Ricciardo stunned F1 when he confirmed he would swap Red Bull for Renault in 2019, a move made all the more intriguing by Red Bull's decision to ditch the French marque as power unit supplier for the coming season.
Renault were fourth in the constructors' standings last year, albeit 297 points adrift of third-place Red Bull, while Ricciardo suffered eight DNFs across the season and still finished 101 points ahead of new teammate Nico Hulkenberg, despite a solitary place in the championship separating them.
And Chandhok is concerned that the pressure of Ricciardio's arrival may not marry with the ambitions Renault should hold for the year ahead.
"Having Ricciardo as an 'A-lister' join them has kind of caught them slightly off-guard," Chandhok said at Autosport International.
"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."
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