Daniel Ricciardo blasted for leaving Red Bull: ‘I’ll never forgive him’

Jamie Woodhouse
AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo in thought.

AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo in thought as he walks through the paddock.

F1 pundit Peter Windsor says he will “never forgive” Daniel Ricciardo for leaving Red Bull after the 2018 campaign, a move few could comprehend at the time.

After a 2018 season of mounting tension between Ricciardo and Red Bull’s rising star Max Verstappen, Ricciardo made the shock decision to exit the team.

He would sign with Renault for 2019, triggering a series of seasons which saw his Formula 1 career go off the rails.

Peter Windsor wishes Daniel Ricciardo never left Red Bull

While Ricciardo did claim two podium finishes with Renault, he confirmed a future switch to McLaren before his second Renault season had begun, with the Ricciardo-McLaren union for the 2021 and 2022 campaigns falling far short of expectations.

McLaren terminating Ricciardo’s contract a year early allowed him to return to Red Bull as a reserve for F1 2023 and later as a driver for their junior team AlphaTauri, so while Windsor hopes this second chance works out for Ricciardo, he wishes it never had to happen this way.

Speaking on his YouTube livestream, Windsor said: “I’m a big Daniel fan, always have been, lovely guy, I’ll just never forgive him for leaving Red Bull though.

“For me, it doesn’t matter what the situation is, you don’t leave a team as good as that to go and do what he did. I was disappointed that he did that.

“I know he’s got another chance now and I hope it goes well for him, but I just wish he’d never done that.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 points all-time rankings: Where do Hamilton, Verstappen and Alonso feature?

The ten greatest mid-season F1 driver swaps of the 21st century

Windsor reflected on the general reaction at the time to Ricciardo’s decision to leave Red Bull for Renault, speaking of how it was one of confusion as the impression was given that Ricciardo was not up for the intra-team battle with Verstappen.

“The way Daniel left Red Bull left quite a lot of questions in people’s minds, because it looked like he was not prepared to race alongside Max Verstappen because he was afraid of getting beaten,” said Windsor.

“That’s what it looked like and he went to Renault where the big money was.

“For me, Daniel was a driver at that point, where most Formula 1 people thought ‘wow, this guy is leaving Red Bull when they’re winning races. What’s going on mentally? Is he motivated?’

“And I think a lot of people thought at the time ‘this is a bad move, why is he doing that?'”

Ricciardo has been sidelined since suffering a broken hand in FP2 at the Dutch Grand Prix, though is targeting a return for Austin with Red Bull junior Liam Lawson continuing to deputise for the Aussie, his next outing arriving this weekend in Qatar.

Read next: Did Daniel Ricciardo miss his first big chance to replace Sergio Perez?