Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo feared supporting role to Max Verstappen

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes Daniel Ricciardo is leaving the team for Renault because he fears ending up in a "support role" to Max Verstappen

Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo feared supporting role to Max Verstappen

Ricciardo had suggested during the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test that a fresh Red Bull contract would be sorted after his summer holiday in the United States.

He then informed the team two days later that he had signed a deal with Renault.

How Ricciardo arrived at his toughest choice

"Daniel said he decided after a long flight to America that he wanted a change," said Horner on F1's official podcast.

"If you look at the rational reasons for that, it's difficult to understand.

"Daniel had his reasons. I think it comes back to wanting to take on, his words, 'a new challenge'.

"But I also feel he sees Max growing and growing in terms of speed and strength and he doesn't want to play a support role I guess, for want of better words.

"It's not that they were treated in any way different. They would have absolute equal status, as they've always had.

"I can't help but feel that was perhaps a large part of Daniel's decision."

Horner said he could understand Ricciardo's decision to leave "if it was to Ferrari or Mercedes" but said committing to Renault, which is fighting at the front of the F1 midfield as it rebuilds its works team, is "an enormous risk at this stage in his career".

However, Horner said he respected Ricciardo's wish to "have a leading role, perhaps in a smaller environment".

He added: "The competition between him and Max is intense.

"I think Daniel's just decided the timing is right for him to check out and try something else."

Horner said the reason he believes Verstappen was a key factor in Ricciardo's decision is because Red Bull had met every demand.

That included a late request for a one-year deal to give Ricciardo flexibility if Mercedes or Ferrari was interested for 2020, or if Red Bull's switch to Honda engines for next year proved problematic.

"We've bent over backwards to make it happen," said Horner, who described it as "a bit like trying to convince a girl to go out with you that is being pretty reticent".

"We gave Daniel everything he wanted and asked for, and it still wasn't enough in his mind to say he wants to stay at Red Bull.

"So, it wasn't about money, it wasn't about status, or commitment, or duration."

Horner learned the news on Thursday last week, the day before it was officially communicated, and said he was so surprised he thought it was a joke.

"I thought he was winding me up, to be honest, when he rang me to say 'I'm going to Renault'," Horner admitted.

"I said 'is this a wind-up for the summer holidays'?

"It then became very clear that was his choice and you have to respect that.

"Renault is a growing team, they are committing resource there.

"Maybe it's an inspired choice."

shares
comments
Formula 1 2021 rules plan now at 'detail' and 'compromise' stage

Previous article

Formula 1 2021 rules plan now at 'detail' and 'compromise' stage

Next article

Formula 1 'not afraid of risk' with new grands prix

Formula 1 'not afraid of risk' with new grands prix
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Max Verstappen , Daniel Ricciardo
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Scott Mitchell
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021