Did Ricciardo leave Red Bull to swerve Honda?

Friday, 10 august 2018, 05:58 , by Matthew Scott

Red Bull are confident that Daniel Ricciardo's decision to leave the team was not based on their 2019 switch to Honda power units. Christian Horner has revealed that the team was even willing to give Ricciardo a short-term deal in case Honda did not deliver the results he wished.

Ricciardo reneged on a one-year deal to pen a two-year agreement with Renault, which starts next year.

The Australian's seven grand prix victories have all been powered by Renault engines, while a Honda unit has not won a race in F1 since Jenson Button's 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix success.

With Ricciardo having spoken of his wish to take on a new challenge, Horner is confident that the Honda deal will not prove further downfall for Red Bull.

"He knows the comparative performance of the two engines and reliability," Horner told F1's 'Beyond the Grid' podcast.

"We were even prepared to do a one-year agreement so he was available to Ferrari and Mercedes should they come knocking in 12 months' time, because obviously they haven't taken him up."

Red Bull had gone as far as to record a video package with Ricciardo confirming his deal, underlining how much of a shock his switch has been.

"Daniel's had conversations with Dietrich [Mateschitz], with Helmut [Marko], with myself. And we've bent over backwards to make it happen," Horner added.

"But if someone's heart's not really in it... and it just felt like that.

"At the end of the day we gave Daniel everything that he wanted and asked for and it still wasn't enough I think in his mind to say 'I want to keep going at Red Bull'.

"It wasn't about money, it wasn't about status, it wasn't about position or commitment or duration. I think he felt that 'I need to take something else on at this stage in my career now'.

"It might be an inspired choice, it might be one that he regrets."

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