Ricciardo: I had to act after Vettel quit Ferrari

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo smiling pa

Daniel Ricciardo said he saw no sense in waiting for the season to start before joining McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo said he saw no sense in starting the 2020 season before he made his move to McLaren official for next year.

It was Sebastian Vettel who sparked the flurry of moves when he announced that 2020 would be his final season with Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz was then named as his replacement with Daniel Ricciardo getting his McLaren seat for 2021.

There has been some criticism aimed Ricciardo’s way, and for all involved for that matter due to them confirming the deals before any racing had happened in 2020.

But Ricciardo said he saw no sense in waiting until the season started to join McLaren, and he felt after Vettel made his announcement that he couldn’t afford to wait.

Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, he said: “I think obviously Vettel’s announcement or news with Ferrari kind of sparked everything.

“And then things were moving pretty quickly around Carlos and all the other stuff.

“Although it seemed like there was maybe still time, I don’t actually think there was, to make movement – if that was what you were going for.

“This is all just what I’m playing in my head – if you start racing in July, which even then wasn’t 100%, but which we are by the looks of it, you’re not going to find out in the first race or the second race.

“You’re probably going to wait until August or maybe September until you really know where everyone’s at, and then I think it felt like it was going to be too late to get something you were after.”

Ricciardo has said already that he was in talks with Ferrari as well as McLaren, but he said his decision to switch from Renault to McLaren was based on 2019 form and also the potential of the McLaren-Mercedes partnership from 2021.

“The reality is you get pitches from whichever team is talking to you, and to some extent, especially now without having any races and any kind of proof other than last year, you have to go on what pitch excites you more than the other,” he explained.

“If I go back to last year, which is our best reference for now, they were the team that made the most noise.

“Mercedes won the championship again, but it was quite clear to most that McLaren was the team which made the biggest step out of all.

“That was really encouraging for them, and that’s really all you can base it on.

“And then the pitch for the future, obviously they are switching power units and all that.

“Even talking about it now it’s certainly tough, because by no means was it an easy decision, and not having very much to gauge from 2020, that was pretty difficult.”

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