Australian Formula 1 ace Daniel Ricciardo has cautioned former teammate Sebastian Vettel about his potential move towards the midfield of the grid.
Vettel could potentially find himself out of F1 at the end of the season after Ferrari opted not to renew his contract beyond the 2020 season.
'THEY ALL KNOW': Renee Gracie blasts Supercars 'double standards'
'HE IS FIGHTING': Former boss' rare update on Michael Schumacher
After the latest round of F1 seat swapping say Carlos Sainz Jr replacing Vettel, Ricciardo moving into Sainz’s vacant seat at McLaren and Renault recruiting Fernando Alonso to fill their second seat.
Rumours have swirled over Vettel, a four-time drivers’ champion, potentially making a move to Racing Point, where he would replace either Sergio Perez or Lance Stroll - both of whom have long-term contracts with the team, and the latter being the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll.
Nevertheless, when asked about the future of Vettel, his former teammate from 2014, Ricciardo said a move towards the midfield would challenge him.
“Seb has pretty much (had) his whole career running at the front,” Ricciardo told the official F1 website.
“Probably every year he’s contested in Formula 1 he’s been on the podium more or less, so if he goes into a midfield team it’s foreign territory for him.
“I think it requires a bit more of an open mind, certainly some patience. But yeah that’s obviously up to him and where he sees the next chapter of his career.
“If he’s still got the will to drive and to compete at the top level, then I 100 per cent think he should continue in the sport.”
Sebastian Vettel’s F1 future remains cloudy
Even if Vettel manages to secure a seat for the 2021 F1 season, Ricciardo said it wouldn’t have the kind of instant payoff a perennial championship hopeful might have expected.
Ricciardo’s own move to Renault, in the hopes the French manufacturer would be able to contend with the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes sooner than expected, hasn’t panned out the way the Aussie driver had thought.
He said Vettel must be prepared to work for several seasons before seeing consistent results.
“If the option is in the midfield somewhere, then it’s normally a longer play,” Ricciardo said.
“So I think he’s going to have to show commitment for not just another 12 months, you’re talking at least 24 months or three years. Two-three years, let’s say that. But that’s something he can answer.
“As a previous teammate, obviously I like Seb, I certainly respect him in the sport and that’s why if he wishes to continue I hope he finds a place where he’s happy.”