Daniel Ricciardo’s career has not panned out how he would have liked since he made the bold decision to part ways with Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season.
The Australian had become frustrated with the energy drink giant’s tendency to favour a young Max Verstappen, who they clearly saw as the future of the team, while he was hunting for his first championship title.
A move to Renault saw the 33-year-old spend two years with the team, before moving a McLaren where a shock win in Monza was the highlight of a very disappointing spell with the team where he was comprehensively beaten by his teammate Lando Norris.
Former F1 executive Mark Gallagher, who worked for Red Bull amongst other teams, has suggested that Ricciardo swapped the chance to win a championship with Red Bull for a more lucrative contract elsewhere.
“Someone close to Daniel, close to Red Bull, said to me not long afterwards: ‘He has cashed in, he has taken the money, he’s gone for the big paycheck because he knows the world championship is not going to come to him’,” said Gallagher.
“It’s certainly not going to come to him at Red Bull because Max is the number one. Actually, he knows it’s not going to come to him at Renault but Cyril Abiteboul is going to pay him a massive amount of money.
“Not only did he manage to get that big offer and then deliver the podium result that he and Cyril had talked about, he then got lured to McLaren with another big paycheck.”
Ricciardo has recently spoken about his departure from Red Bull and while he admits that he may have been more likely to win races with the team, he has no regrets over the move as nothing is guaranteed.
The main reason behind the eight-time race winner’s move to Renault in his words is because he had ‘lost himself’ at Red Bull and could see himself becoming unhappy and spiralling in his current situation.
Having been outscored by Lando Norris in both his seasons with McLaren, Ricciardo will be replaced by Oscar Piastri in 2023 as the team have exhausted every avenue to make a relationship work with the Australian.
Ricciardo will serve as Red Bull’s third driver in 2023 as he aims to keep himself relevant and sharp ahead of a potential return to the grid in the future, should an opportunity to do so arise with a competitive team.