Red Bull 'tried everything' to keep Ricciardo

  • 29 Dec 2018 12:39
  • comments 6
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says his team did everything to could to stop Daniel Ricciardo from leaving the team. Ricciardo was expected to sign an extension deal with Red Bull following the in-season Hungary test, due to an apparent lack of options.

However, in an unexpected twist, the Australian announced that he would be joining Renault for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, replacing McLaren bound Carlos Sainz. The Enstone squad still finds a large gap between itself and the top three teams, which includes Red Bull.

Pierre Gasly has been promoted from Toro Rosso to fill in for the departing Ricciardo, however Horner revealed that Red Bull did not concede to the Ricciardo-Renault deal without putting up a fight.

"We looked at it and I think we did everything that we possibly could to retain him,” Horner told Autosport. “He actually said this – he did the classic break-up [line] – it not you, it’s me! And I think he just genuinely wanted to take on a new challenge.

“I think he was also probably concerned about his value with the evolution of Max [Verstappen], and was probably uncertain about Honda at that time. Subsequently he’s seen what we were talking about start to come to fruition.

“You always have a Plan B. I think once we understood that he was serious, that that was his mindset, it was a very easy decision to come to regarding Pierre Gasly.”

Ricciardo had a tough 2018 season, suffering from eight retirements, while teammate Verstappen bagged 11 podium finishes. Horner denied that the team's focus shifted more on Verstappen, who has been tipped for great success in F1.

"The number one driver in this team is the driver who is ahead on the track," he clarified. "That’s the simple rule. And there is zero favouritism in the way that we operate the team, from one driver to the other. Daniel will tell you that very openly.

“Mexico was the first time that Daniel outqualified Max since Monaco. Max’s qualifying performances have been huge, and that was probably part of Daniel’s decision taking for the future.”

Replies (6)

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  • I seriously doubt they could have done anything to keep Danny Ric. I also doubt that fear of Max was the main factor like some have suggested. I think he was looking to the future beyond 2019 and it's no secret the way RBR has a way of discarding drivers without much notice. Being at Renault gives him a bit of a position of power that he would never get at RBR. And it probably won't hurt him being with a factory team instead of a drinks company.

    • + 0
    • Dec 29 2018 - 16:33
    • They have been pushing this stupid idea that Danny fled Red Bull because of Max. So as to smear Danny a bit for leaving RBR. The reality is that Red Bull always does the same thing with their former drivers. We saw it with Sebastián, with Verne, with Alguersuari. Now they will do it with Ricciardo.

      • + 0
      • Dec 30 2018 - 03:02
  • xoya

    Posts: 313

    Everything except not making it obvious that they want Verstappen to be a clear no.1 driver.

    • + 0
    • Dec 29 2018 - 22:03
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,068

    So Danny Ric wanted to go to Renault, there are those whom see this as a positive and those who see this as an negative move. If you are positive the move is about Danny resetting with an single factory team as the lead driver. On the other side (which I am on edging towards) he left an team that has an far bigger budget than Renault and is proven to be recent race winners. Since Redbull doesn't have to create the PU they don't have to budget for this and therefore can spend on their chassis and PU integration.

    Other factors like his team mate are potentially troublesome either way. Verstappen seems to have the measure of Ricciardo and Hulk seems to have solidified his position in Renault. Resetting himself with Renault seems like the better option since Verstappen has been on a upwards trajectory and Hulkenberg has not been able to improve on previous finishing positions.

    The engine situation at redbull is fluid and they don't really know where they stand with regards to performance relative to the other teams. Honda seems to be spending more on the progress of their engine than Renault. I believe that Renault just invested £10M more next year on their PU development which isn't a massive cash injection. The investments by Honda and Redbull will allow them to improve at faster pace than Renault and therefore it's only a matter of time before Honda outperforms the Renault.

    Either way the decision to move to Renault does not stem from being unhappy/unsupported within Redbull. It looks like an need to move in order to gain, for me this could maybe more to do with trying to get an different image in order to be more employable by the big teams.

    Good luck to him.

    • + 1
    • Dec 30 2018 - 00:12
    • Good points. I'm looking forward to watching the two Renault drivers race. People are calling Ricciardo the #1 driver for Renault, but I don't know if that's true. I think the Hulk is probably the most underrated driver on the grid, so it should make for some good racing between the two. They should push each other and maybe even be fighting for podiums amongst the likes of RBR and Haas, if they can produce a good car for 2019. Budget always helps, regardless of what Williams says.

      • + 0
      • Dec 30 2018 - 04:25
    • I agree Boudy, it seems like a kinda happy divorce. I woulda preferred it if Ric stayed, but it is what it is. Hope he'll be happy at Renault. And honestly, even if Renault does start ahead of Honda again next year, I think Honda will pull away later on. Renault has again and again been unwilling to release late season upgrades, and thats punished them and their customers.

      I agree Ram. I think he will become number 1 sooner or later, assuming he does in fact beat Hulk, but Hulk isnt the type to just stand down and let someone snatch all he has built up. There is but one team that budget didnt seem to matter to, and thats Force India. Now they will enter 2019 with a bigger budget too, and I'll be interested to see how that'll turn out.

      • + 0
      • Dec 30 2018 - 08:26

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