Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber has hit out at Renault, citing a lack of competitiveness compared to customer team McLaren.
Carlos Sainz finally put an end to his rotten luck with a P7 finish in Baku, while Lando Norris came home P8 to record the team’s first double-points finish in 2019.
But, while McLaren’s pace has looked strong throughout the opening four rounds, Renault have had a mixed showing with a double DNF in Bahrain and their struggle to get near the top ten in Azerbaijan raising question marks about their goals – they had claimed they would challenge the top three in 2019 during pre-season.
“As predicted, they’re a long way off, they’ve got a big job to do,” Webber told Australian outlet Wide World of Sports.
“They’re a team under tremendous pressure already, because their performance doesn’t back up the chat. Renault were saying in the off-season they can challenge the top three, but they’re a long way from that.
“It’s been challenging, they’ve got some reliability issues as well, McLaren are belting them with the same engine, which is not good. McLaren are a long way down the road at the moment.”
Webber also once again expressed his concern about Daniel Ricciardo’s move down the pecking order from Red Bull to Renault.
“Daniel’s season hasn’t really started, has it?” Ricciardo questioned.
“It’s been very challenging for Renault, and it’s starting to sink in now, in terms of the amount of work in front of them.
“Daniel hasn’t forgotten how to drive, but the form guide changes very quickly in this sport. A driver’s momentum and his career can be challenged.
“He’s valued, but clearly he’s not in a good position at the moment. That’s obvious. You need results, you need to be drinking the champagne on the podium.
“That’s what concerned me with this move, so let’s hope the team can lift for him and start getting results.
“Every few months, if the performances aren’t there, other managers and agents and young drivers are trying to muscle in, the sport moves on so fast.
“Daniel benefited from it in the past, he was one of the guys that had it on the way up. Now Renault have to deliver for him.”
McLaren currently sit P4 in the Constructors’ Championship with a six-points gap over Renault.