Article

Ricciardo to Renault: A good or bad move?

3 August 2018 16:46

Daniel Ricciardo's Formula One future has finally been clarified.

The Australian will leave Red Bull at the end of his fifth season with the team and join Renault from 2019.

But after links to Mercedes and Ferrari, is it the right move for Ricciardo?

Omnisport writers Tom Webber and Ben Spratt argue each side.

 

BAD MOVE - TW

On the face of it, Ricciardo has taken a backwards step. He has left one of the top three teams for one of the best in the midfield.

His decision is even more difficult to understand when considering that Ferrari are likely to be in the market for a new team-mate to Sebastian Vettel, with Kimi Raikkonen tipped for retirement.

The Scuderia represented Ricciardo's best, and only, chance to immediately improve his chances of winning a world championship after Mercedes handed new deals to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for 2019.

But Ricciardo was seemingly unable to convince Ferrari that he would suit driving alongside four-time champion Vettel, who was his partner at Red Bull during the 2014 season, and admitted he expected more interest from the Italian team.

At 29 years old and with 141 races under his belt, Ricciardo appeared primed to secure a seat that would make him a title contender. Going to Renault does not guarantee that.

Of course, Red Bull's competitiveness next year is by no means certain given they will switch to Honda power units, so at least he is now at a works team.

However, Ricciardo missed a chance to get himself in one of the best works teams and it is difficult to see him becoming a serious contender any time soon.

 

GOOD MOVE - BS

This may not be the dream switch to Ferrari, but a move to Renault could be just what Ricciardo needs. There is no doubt that the Australian would have been the number two under Sebastian Vettel.

If he is to kick on, Ricciardo must be the main man - he need only check in with Valtteri Bottas to establish that. The Finn, talented enough to be a contender in his own right, has spent recent weeks fielding questions on whether he is allowed to race Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton or if he is simply, in Toto Wolff's words, "the perfect wingman".

It would be the same at Red Bull, too. The speculation that has engulfed Ricciardo's season began because he appeared unhappy with his role alongside prodigy Max Verstappen.

As the campaign has worn on and Ricciardo has faltered while talking up interest from other teams, his position within the Red Bull camp has not improved.

At Renault, he will be the headline act.

And Ricciardo's new team do not believe he is selling away his dreams of becoming a world champion either. "Renault decided to come back to Formula One to fight for world championships," said team president Jerome Stoll as the deal was announced. Ricciardo added: "I hope to be able to help them in this journey."

With both Ricciardo and Renault on the same page, believing that lofty goal can be realised, this can be a roaring success.

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