until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Ricciardo would’ve left Red Bull by now whatever happened

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

Daniel Ricciardo says he expected to leave Red Bull by 2021 regardless of his Renault move, so would always have missed out on its current Formula 1 form.

Ricciardo made the shock decision to leave Red Bull to join midfield team Renault for the 2019 season and has revealed in an interview with EFTM.com’s Trevor Long that his departure was inevitable.

“I couldn’t have seen myself spending another three years at Red Bull” :: Daniel Ricciardo

Many believe Ricciardo was solely motivated by Max Verstappen’s status at Red Bull but he was also influenced by doubt over the Red Bull-Honda project and the appeal of Renault offering a fresh start and a major salary.

After a difficult first year with Renault, Ricciardo chose to sign with McLaren for 2021 – making that decision before a race had even been run in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of the season.

He scored two podiums in his farewell Renault season but has joined a more upwardly-mobile operation in McLaren, which finished third in the 2020 constructors’ championship and has started 2021 as best of the rest behind Mercedes and Red Bull again.

But boosted by an all-new Honda engine, Ricciardo’s former employer Red Bull has made its most competitive start to a season in F1’s V6 turbo-hybrid era, with Verstappen one point behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton after two races and the two drivers sharing a pole position and victory apiece.

“No regrets, nah,” Ricciardo insisted. “It’s true, no regrets.

“I got asked the other day ‘looking at Red Bull this year it looks like maybe they can fight for a championship, do you wish you were still there?’ or ‘So you think you still would have been there?’.

“Even if I didn’t move that year, even if I stayed with Red Bull instead of Renault for that one or two years, I think even by now I would have moved.

“I couldn’t have seen myself spending another three years there.

“Regardless of whether I went to Renault or not, I didn’t myself at Red Bull in 2021.”

Daniel Ricciardo 2018

Red Bull was upset with Ricciardo in the summer of 2018 because the protracted negotiations over a new contract even included it ceding to his demand for only a one-year deal, yet he still decided to leave.

That makes Ricciardo’s hypothetical timeline realistic, as had he stayed at Red Bull he would likely have signed a single-year extension or a one-plus-one.

He could then have bypassed the Renault stint and potentially joined McLaren for 2021 anyway.

McLaren courted him in 2018 but Ricciardo rejected the team because of its poor form. Its major progress since then is what prompted him to sign for 2021.

So had Ricciardo stayed at Red Bull for the start of its Honda partnership, the combination of the team still failing to rival Mercedes across 2019 and 2020, plus the positive McLaren trajectory, would have realistically resulted in Ricciardo moving to McLaren in 2021 anyway.

Ricciardo said at the dawn of his first McLaren season that he felt the team offered him his best chance at a world championship bid.

All-new technical rules come into force next year and F1 is now operating under a cost cap for the first time as well.

McLaren’s start to the season has underlined Ricciardo’s faith in his new team, especially considering he is still in the process of adapting.

“Yeah – if it’s a yes or no, it’s yes,” Ricciardo said when asked if he believes he can win a title with McLaren.

“Is it this year? No. But already in the first couple of races, I look at my lap on the weekend [at Imola], I’m pretty confident I’m not getting everything out of it, and I’m four tenths off pole or something.

“The team’s closed the gap a bunch. The rule changes are going to change everything. What the team’s done, and this year looks another step in that direction, the structure and stability – guns are ablazing down here, and it’s really cool to see.

“That fills me with a lot of confidence to give you a ‘yes’ to the question you asked.”

Apr 26 : Alonso, Alpine and other F1 strugglers
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks