Daniel Ricciardo joined Red Bull in 2014 and won seven races for the team in five seasons before shocking the motorsport by switching to Renault. Ricciardo was on the shift again, this time to McLaren, after only two podium finishes with Renault during a 2 year stint at Enstone.
Many questioned the Australian’s choice to leave Red Bull, including Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who proposed the decision was influenced in part by Ricciardo’s desire to step aside from being Max Verstappen’s teammate.
In an interview ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the scene of Verstappen’s spectacular first F1 victory on his Red Bull debut in 2016, Ricciardo admitted that the change in direction that followed Verstappen’s Barcelona win played a significant role in his departure.
”One of the core factors” : Daniel Ricciardo
“Honestly, if I broke down everything, there was probably 30 factors or 30 reasons. Obviously, I knew the hype behind Max and it’s funny, we’re here in Barcelona and this is where the real hype train started. His first weekend [with Red Bull] and he won. That propelled him to another level and it also made me pretty upset because I was leading that race and had a three-stop strategy over his two-stop, and it cost me. So there was already things that were tilted,” said the Australian driver in the interview.
Ricciardo then went on to mention that his departure from the Austria-based racing team wasn’t planned at that given point of time, but it was the course of events in that race weekend that might’ve influenced him to think about moving to Renault. “Then his momentum was building in the team and for sure, there was then a little bit of that concern. That wasn’t the leading factor, or the biggest, but it was one of the core 30,” added Ricciardo.
Ricciardo, who was Verstappen’s most competitive teammate at Red Bull, insists he has no regret over his departure despite winning only once in the three years that have followed, and seeing Verstappen become F1 world champion last season. Asked if there is any sense of regret about his decision to leave given Red Bull’s current competitiveness, Ricciardo replied: I’ve thought about it, of course. I knew I was going to get the questions as well over the course of time, whether it was the immediate announcement at the time in 2018, or now that Max has won a world title. I don’t look back at that with any regret.”