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Button couldn't understand why Ricciardo moved to Renault

  • Published on 25 Aug 2020 12:30
  • comments 7
  • By: Coilin Higgins

2009 world champion Jenson Button has opened up on what he thought of Daniel Ricciardo's move to Renault last year, admitting he could never understand why Ricciardo decided to switch Red Bull for the French squad.

Ricciardo left Red Bull after five seasons at the end of 2018 to partner Nico Hulkenberg at the team, but last May announced he would depart the team at the end of the year to replace Carlos Sainz at McLaren.

Button suggested Ricciardo sometimes questioned his move to Renault, but commended the Australian driver for being able to better teammate Hulkenberg, who left the team at the end of last year, in his first season with the team.

“I even said to Daniel ‘I don’t get your decision to move to Renault’,” said Button, speaking recently to the In The Fast Lane podcast.

“I’m sure he’s questioned it at times, as you always do as a driver when you step backwards.

“I know he’s being paid a lot of money at Renault, but he would have also been paid a lot at Red Bull so I don’t think it’s a cash issue.

“I think it goes back to not feeling equal with your team-mate and not feeling wanted in the team, and I think that’s the reason why he made that move.

“He’s spent a couple of years at Renault…I’m probably more impressed with what he’s done at Renault than with what he did at Red Bull. To have one over on [former teammate] Nico Hulkenberg in his first year [2019] is very impressive.”

Move to McLaren 'make or break' for Ricciardo

Button also spoke about Ricciardo's move to McLaren for 2021, claiming it will be a move that will 'make or break' his F1 career.

Button, who raced at McLaren from 2010 until his retirement at the end of 2016, noted how the switch made a lot more sense than Ricciardo's previous move to Renault, especially with McLaren using Mercedes power units from next season onwards.

“This move to McLaren, it’s make or break for his career,” Button commented.

“He’s still young, but you’ve got to start moving towards a team that can give you race wins and hopefully fight for the Championship. It’s an important move for him. A McLaren with a Mercedes in the back should be very competitive.”

Replies (7)

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  • I actually get it. RB had clearly shown that Max was their no 1 driver at that stage, and they were just switching to Honda to boot. And while Renault hadn't exactly been shining, it is a works team who consistently finishes middleish and paid well, and it was the best offer he had at hand, since neither Merc or Ferrari wanted him. One could even say Renault was the safest choice.

    • + 0
    • Aug 25 2020 - 14:50
    • It wouldn't have taken much for RB to keep Ricciardo. But they decided to act a bit like they did with Seb vs Webber. Max got protection, shielded from accountability, and on top of that Max was at least as fast as Daniel. So it's a pretty simple calculation to see that Daniel would come out looking like a very fast and capable, but nevertheless, number two driver

      • + 0
      • Aug 25 2020 - 22:43
    • 100% agree with you Calle. Renault was by far the best option for him. if he stayed at RB, he would have performed poorly against VERS eventually simply because the team wanted VERS to be number 1 and put their focus into how to make that happen. But I think RB would be regretting pushing RIC away now as they have clearly seen that GAS and ALB are nowhere near the level that RIC was doing for them.

      I am sure money was part of it, RB are known to not pay that well as a base salary - they make up for it in bonuses, but going to Honda power was certainly high risk if a driver was relying on bonuses.

      • + 1
      • Aug 26 2020 - 03:37
  • Dert38

    Posts: 355

    COVID has a new victim lol

    • + 0
    • Aug 25 2020 - 17:44
  • Its the same reason why Buttons reported lost diamond jewels to insurance, monneyyy!

    • + 1
    • Aug 25 2020 - 20:05
  • f1ski

    Posts: 726

    One of my favorite drivers. His ability to accommodate to the car puts him up there with max Leclerc Hamilton and I think Perez.

    • + 0
    • Aug 25 2020 - 21:04
  • jmac67

    Posts: 1

    $6m per year at Red Bull
    $35m per year at Renault

    He knew he wouldn't be winning at either team... so, he secured his final future by choosing 3yrs with Renault...

    • + 0
    • Aug 28 2020 - 11:36

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