Former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has conceded dealing with the termination of Daniel Ricciardo's contract was one of the "toughest" moments of his motorsport career.
Ricciardo will spend the 2023 season as Red Bull's third driver after being dropped by McLaren in favour of fellow Australian Oscar Piastri following a lacklustre two years at Woking.
The eight-time grand prix winner gave McLaren its best result in a decade with victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix and whilst the relationship remained amicable through the hardships, a split was inevitable.
Seidl, who has moved to Sauber to become CEO in the wake of Fred Vasseur's switch to Ferrari, was in charge of handling Ricciardo's departure.
Speaking to GPFans prior to his departure, the German revealed the difficulty of the saga.
“Professionally, it was definitely one of the toughest things I had to deal with in my motorsport career," said Seidl.
"Having these open and honest discussions with a great driver and a great guy like Daniel was tough.
“Especially then, telling him, openly and honestly about our decision that we wanted to split ways early.
“At the same time, I'm very, very happy that we both managed together to do it in a way, with this transparency and open dialogue we always had, that we still could finish a season together with great commitment from both sides to finish on a high.
“We still have a great relationship where we can still go for a dinner or a beer at night.
"That is very, very important for me because, in the end, it's about the human beings in this sport as well, despite all the complex technology."
Additional reporting by Ewan Gale