Daniel Ricciardo’s career has not panned out as he would have liked following his bold decision to leave Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season.
The Australian was fairly impressive during his two reasons with Renault, however his time with McLaren has been a disaster, as the team have now terminated his contract after a below par two seasons.
Ricciardo’s decision to swap the Red Bull for Renault came after tensions grew between himself and Max Verstappen, as the young Red Bull driver had been clearly identified as the future of the team.
The pair came together on numerous occasions, most notably in Baku where both drivers took each other out of the race, which came as the final straw for Ricciardo.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has retrospectively criticised Ricciardo for his decision to leave the team, calling his decision ‘stupid’.
“Daniel joined us as a teenager and he grew up with the team here,” said Horner.
“He had some great success here with us, and then he went and did something stupid and went to drive for a couple of other teams and it never quite worked out.”
Following his release from McLaren, Ricciardo will return to Red Bull with his tail between his legs to serve as the team’s reserve driver in 2023, as he looks to take some time away from the grid to prepare himself for a return to a top team in the future.
“Daniel is such a great personality and big character. We felt it was right to bring him back into the team and of course promotionally, he’s got the biggest smile in F1,” explained Horner.
“For him, he will be able to get back to having fun and rediscover his enjoyment of being a Formula 1 driver, rather than the stress he has had over the last couple of years.”
It has been speculated that Red Bull could swap Ricciardo for Sergio Perez, should the Mexican not be able to repair his relationship with Max Verstappen over the course of the 2023 season, however Horner has claimed that the team see no reason to cut Perez’s two-year contract short.
Ricciardo will be keeping a close eye on proceedings in 2023, as he looks for an opportunity to return to the grid in 2024.