Daniel Ricciardo’s big mistake, Renault to McLaren, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race time, qualifying time, how to watch
Formula 1 great turned popular broadcaster Martin Brundle has labelled Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to join Renault ahead of the 2019 season a “mistake”, but sympathises with the Australian’s bombshell move.
Ricciardo shocked the F1 world in 2018 by signing with the French team following a successful five-year stint with Red Bull.
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However, Ricciardo found little success with Renault in the 2019 season, quickly jumping ship and signing with McLaren last year.
Speaking on the In the Fast Lane podcast, Brundle said Ricciardo made the right call partnering with young gun Lando Norris at the British team, which established itself as a genuine force to be reckoned with by finishing third in the 2020 constructors’ championship.
The 31-year-old failed to muster a podium finish during his maiden season with Renault, finishing ninth in the drivers’ standings in 2019.
“Unless somehow or other he can get into a Mercedes, where else would he go?” Brundle told the podcast.
“I can’t see him going back (to Red Bull). He probably should have stayed at Red Bull, but he felt all the love was in Max’s (Verstappen) direction, and I can understand that completely.
“Renault was a mistake which we all kind of suspected at the time, but I think that was him needing to get out of Red Bull as much as anything.”
Mercedes has won seven straight world titles but Red Bull has been tipped to seriously challenge the Silver Arrows’ dominance this year. Brundle also believes McLaren could make life nervous for the powerhouse teams in future years.
Brundle added “this might be his (Ricciardo’s) last big chance of a championship”, but success isn’t going to come immediately in his new outfit.
“I do believe if he’s got the patience, and they’ve got the patience, if he sticks with McLaren, that can take him back to the front of the field,” Brundle said.
“McLaren have signed off a new wind tunnel (but) they currently use the Toyota one in Cologne and, with COVID, they’ve not been able to use that much either.
“So, I think he’s going to have to be patient there, because the fruits of this new wind tunnel are not going to come through for two to three years, and I think he’s got that with them.”
While a move to Mercedes one day in the future isn’t off the cards, Brundle suggested it was unlikely a driver with so much ambition to chase a world title, like Ricciardo, would be a natural fit.
“Mercedes obviously have got their junior program and they’ve got Lewis (Hamilton),” Brundle said. “Lewis is box office, he transcends the sport, so I could understand why they put Lewis in as a priority.
“Valtteri Bottas is the perfect foil, in many respects, for Lewis; fast enough to be helpful, not quite fast enough to bother the megastar.
“I think Mercedes are quite happy with the dynamics of that. It’s worked for them, hasn’t it?
“Do they want two bulls in the same field? I don’t think they do right now.”
Ricciardo secured seventh place in the F1 season opener at Bahrain last month, and the competition resumes in Italy this weekend with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The Perth driver claimed his second podium with Renault at the venue last year.
How can I watch the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix?
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will be shown live and exclusively on Foxtel and streaming platform Kayo.
When is Practice?
The schedule for this weekend’s action in Imola has been adjusted slightly a mark of respect for the funeral of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip.
Two practice sessions will take place on Friday, with another on Saturday before Qualifying.
Practice 1 — Friday, April 16 at 7pm AEST
Practice 2 — Friday, April 16 at 10.30pm AEST
Practice 3 — Saturday, April 17 at 7pm AEST
When is Qualifying?
Qualifying will determine the grid order for Sunday’s race — Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas secured pole position in 2020.
Qualifying — Saturday, April 17 at 10pm AEST.
When is the Race?
The main event will start on Sunday, April 18 with lights out at 11pm AEST.
Past winners at Imola
2020 — Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2006 — Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2005 — Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2004 — Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2003 — Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2002 — Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
2001 — Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW)
2000 — Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
What’s the track like?
Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is located in the Italian town Imola. The 4.9km track features 19 turns and one DRS zone, located on the exit of the final corner.