New Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on his decision to leave Red Bull for the French team after over a decade of association and says the decision was a ‘personal thing’ as he feared losing motivation if the Honda partnership failed to deliver on his expectations.
Ricciardo joined Red Bull in 2014 when the team was coming off the back of a four-year title winning streak, but despite amassing 29 podium finishes with the team, including seven grand prix victories, the championship challenge he’d hoped for failed to materialise.
When asked by GPFans.com to clarify his reasons for wanting to move on, Ricciardo explained that Red Bull’s decision to partner with Honda played a part as he was concerned about losing motivation if the partnership failed to improve the team’s fortunes.
“Yeah a part of that risk is Honda and whether it performs or not,” said Ricciardo,
“Yes [Renault] want to win but the expectation is that we’re not going to win this year. We want to improve and if we do, awesome, but at Red Bull it’s every year it’s like ‘ok this is going to be our year’ and there’s nothing wrong with that, but then the risk of being disappointed and let down is naturally higher.
“I’d obviously come from joining there after [Red Bull won] four titles, so already before I got there I was like ‘i’m going to have a world championship car’ and for five years that wasn’t the case. Obviously, I had wins, it wasn’t always bad, but I thought that now maybe if the next phase with Honda doesn’t work, it’s just going to potentially be more risky for my happiness with the team and everyone’s motivation.
“From that point of view, I feel there’s less risk coming into this because I feel there’s more room for us to grow and the team here, every year they’ve [improved].
After being backed by Red Bull from F3 in 2008 all the way through to F1, Ricciardo dismissed suggestions that he felt disappointed by the way in which his time with the team ended, but the Australian joked that he often wonders what might have happened had his compatriot Mark Webber retired a year earlier.
Funny moment in the @danielricciardo press conference earlier when someone's phone rang. As the phone had been placed on the table in front of him, Daniel answered it, put it on speaker and shouted 'HOLA AMIGO!' ???? #F1Testing
“I don’t look back on [my time with Red Bull] negatively at all. I mean it gave me all my current milestones in F1, so of course, I’ll look back and be like ‘I wish you’d signed me in 2013’, that would have been awesome, or ‘I wish Mark [Webber] had retired a year earlier’ but no, I don’t look back [and feel] bitter at all,” said Ricciardo.
“They provided me with amazing opportunities and that’s just how the sport is and how it works. It was really the best option I had as well, it wasn’t at all negative.
“That was just how it played out and I guess the five years there, kind of coming close a few times but never really close enough, I just felt that maybe if i’d done another year or two with the same outcome, that was maybe the balancing point where I thought it was time for a change because that was the risk.
“It was probably more of a personal thing if I had started to get frustrated a bit and started to lose motivation.”