Daniel Ricciardo has responded to Christian Horner’s opinion that the timing of his Red Bull departure was “spectacularly bad”, and had a “stratospheric offer” on the table for him to stay.
Ricciardo shocked the paddock as he left the team at the end of 2018 for what became a relatively ill-fated move to Renault, before he joined McLaren after two years with the French marque.
Horner felt Ricciardo doubted the ability of Honda to be able to power Red Bull to a title-winning campaign, but he was proven wrong by Max Verstappen winning the title.
“Daniel could see Max in the ascendancy and he didn’t want to become the second driver,” Horner recently said to The Weekend Australian.
“His timing was spectacularly bad because obviously he had doubts about the Honda engine and then [Honda] went on to prove it was a competitive power unit and a race-winning package.’’
But while the Australian hopes to make his mark with his current team, he said he isn’t bothered by the “narrative” surrounding his Red Bull departure – and did what he felt was best for his future at the time.
“Obviously, I would love to win a title with McLaren and then kind of say ‘I told you so’ or whatever,” Ricciardo said to the Herald Sun.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 6, 2022
“But I appreciate until that happens then there will probably be that narrative with a lot of people.
“That’s okay, it doesn’t bother me. I also knew that it was going to come with the territory of leaving a big team and obviously at the time I felt like that was the right thing for me.
“You kind of stand by that and it really did feel like the right thing.”
He added that he “knew” that Red Bull would compete at the front again eventually, and that there were several factors behind him leaving the team.
“It’s not something I look back on and regret or think I should have done differently,” Ricciardo stated.
“But I guess as well now Red Bull are back on top or fighting again for the World titles, I knew that would come around as well.
“There are also a lot of things internally in the team so it’s not just [about] ‘the car is fast, you should have stayed’.”
McLaren have had a poor start to the season after being on an upward trajectory over the past few seasons, with Ricciardo and team-mate Lando Norris hoping to catch up soon after team principal Andreas Seidl admitted their rivals had simply done “a better job” in developing their 2022 car.
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