Daniel Ricciardo rejected a “stratospheric” offer to stay with a powerhouse F1 team, a decision that’s been labelled “spectacularly bad”.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo rejected a “stratospheric” multimillion-dollar offer to stay at the powerhouse F1 team four years ago, a decision he labelled “spectacularly bad”.
Ricciardo stunned the F1 paddock in 2018 by jumping ship, leaving Red Bull and signing for Renault, who were typically found at the back of the grid.
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It was a decision that backfired on the Perth driver, who registered just two podium finishes in two seasons at Renault before switching things up again and joining McLaren.
But Ricciardo’s maiden season with the Woking-based team didn’t go to plan either, finishing eighth on the Drivers’ Standings in 2021 after repeatedly being bettered by McLaren young gun Lando Norris.
Meanwhile, former Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen has flourished since Ricciardo’s shock departure, winning his first world championship last year – albeit in controversial circumstances.
Speaking exclusively to The Weekend Australian, Horner explained that Red Bull were eager for Ricciardo to stay and had “put offers in front of him that were stratospheric”.
“Daniel could see Max (Verstappen) in the ascendancy and he didn’t want to become the second driver,” Horner told the News Corp publication.
“His timing was spectacularly bad because obviously, he had doubts about the Honda engine and then (Honda) went on to prove there it was a competitive power unit and a race winning package.’’
“Daniel is a great driver and we were sad when he decided to leave the team her.
“And, you know it’s unfortunately not worked out for him the way he would have liked and he’s a great driver.
“He’s got great natural abilities, a big personality. Of course now he’s got a competitive teammate as well. It’s given him a hard time and you know, that’s tough for him.’’
Ricciardo’s woes have only accentuated this year, with McLaren struggling to keep up with its rivals early in the 2022 season.
After the opening two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, McLaren is reeling down in eighth on the Constructors’ Championship with only six points.
Ricciardo is yet to place in the top 10 this season, with a technical problem potentially robbing the Aussie of a points finish in Jeddah last weekend.
The F1 season will resume in Melbourne next weekend for the Australian Grand Prix, with lights out scheduled for 3pm AEDT on Sunday, April 11.
It will be Melbourne’s first F1 event in three years, with Covid-19 complications interrupting the last two Grand Prix races.
Read the full interview with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on The Weekend Australian