Daniel Ricciardo was at the top of his game during his time with Red Bull, winning numerous racing and challenging at the front of the grid on a regular basis.
The Australian was extremely unlucky to not win a championship during his time with the team, with a combination of an unreliable engine and a dominant Mercedes team seeing him fall short.
It looked like Ricciardo had no reason to leave the team; however in 2018 the Australian had grown frustrated at the team’s treatment of him, believing that Red Bull were treating Max Verstappen like the number one driver as they planned for a future with the Dutchman.
Ricciardo made a shock move to Renault, before then making another switch to McLaren, and has now opened up on the difficult conversation that he had to have with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko when he decided to depart Red Bull for pastures new.
“I told [Horner and Marko] – I was very honest and appreciative, I just said ‘guys, thank you for having this conversation with me. No matter where this conversation goes, I’ll just thank you for your time because you don’t owe me anything’,” explained the Australian.
“If you take it for what it was, when I left Red Bull in 2018, it was big news and it was like ‘I can’t believe Ricciardo is doing this’.
“But as much as that was a bit of a shock move and tough for me to deliver, the relationship [with Red Bull] remained very good considering the circumstances.”
Ricciardo will be replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren for next season, as the 33-year-old struggled to perform during his two years with the team, and will make a return to Red Bull to serve as a third driver while he assesses his options for 2024.
Mercedes and Red Bull had battled it out for Ricciardo’s services next year, and the eight-time race winner has claimed that there were no owed favours in Red Bull’s decision to bring him back home.
“You go through experience, you mature, and you grow, and it wasn’t even discussed in terms of a carryover like ‘remember what happened, you owe us this’,” said Ricciardo.
“It wasn’t even talked about, and it was just ‘this is where we are today – and we would like to bring you back into the family’.”
With Sergio Perez being tied down to a multi-year contract, it is unlikely that Ricciardo will earn himself a second shot at Red Bull, but his year with the team will allow him to focus on forming a plan to return to the grid in 2024.