It’s a good thing McLaren has declared Daniel Ricciardo will not be number 1 at the team next season as questions have been raised about his leadership.
Back in 2018, Ricciardo turned down a Red Bull extension in favour of swapping to Renault.
The Aussie was adamant that it was the right move for his career and one that would allow him in time to build the team into race winners.
However, just over a year after making his competitive Renault debut, the 30-year-old announced that enough was enough and he would be swapping to McLaren in 2021.
The switch angered Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
Releasing a short statement following McLaren’s announcement, the Frenchman said: “In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team.”
It has baffled many with former driver turned commentator Martin Brundle calling it a lateral move while some reports suggest Ricciardo may have seen the writing on the wall with Renault soon to be forced into massive budget cuts.
However, Autohebdo journalist Julian Billiotte wonders if it may yet prove to be a winning decision to Renault.
“Let’s just say that I think the 2019 season may have revealed his limits, particularly in terms of leadership, although he remains an excellent driver of course,” Billiotte posted on Twitter.
“However, his rating does not seem to have suffered, especially among our British colleagues.
“He helped in terms of status, signed brilliant shots, and brought the experience of a top team as well as his legendary good humour.
“But we also had the feeling, seen from the field, that he quickly picked up after a very complicated start to the season.”
Renault has yet to announce Ricciardo’s replacement with Valtteri Bottas believed to be in the running to partner Esteban Ocon.