Daniel Ricciardo has maintained that he does not have any regrets about leaving Red Bull at the end of 2018.
Max Verstappen became the first-ever Dutch F1 world champion after winning Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having signed with the Milton Keynes-based outfit in 2016 and raced alongside Ricciardo for two-and-a-half years.
The Australian, who won seven races with Red Bull, insisted before the start of the weekend there are no hard feelings between himself and his former employers.
“Looking at Max this year, I 100 percent don’t feel any envy, jealousy or weirdness to him or the team. Weirdly enough, I’d be very, very happy for them!” Ricciardo told ESPN ahead of the season finale.
Red Bull’s switch to Honda power the year following Ricciardo’s departure saw a massive pace improvement for Red Bull, but he has not put any thought into what he could have achieved had he been at the team in 2021.
“I don’t have any [regrets]. People probably thought ‘I wonder what Daniel thought this year, would he also have been fighting for a championship?
“Up until right now I haven’t actually thought about that. I think it’s hard to answer in a way that… the easiest way to say it is, I really did, and not in a negative way, I detached myself from it.”
The 32-year-old spent two years with Renault, scoring two podiums during the 2020 season, before joining McLaren in 2021, winning in Monza and finishing eighth in the Drivers’ Standings.
Once he left Red Bull, his gaze immediately turned to his future, he said.
“Once I closed the book with Red Bull I really tried to put all my energy into the next part. I really didn’t have any over-hanging, like, what could’ve, what should’ve.
“I remember through the decision process I even told myself, ‘can I live with myself if, in 2019, Red Bull win the championship? How is that going to make me feel?'”
Ricciardo was out-qualified 34 times in 58 races while partnering the Dutchman, and said of his switch to Renault that everything has a purpose.
“So I’d already addressed those things. And now we’re obviously a few years removed from that. I definitely don’t have any… I’m not really that spiritual or whatever you wanna call it, but I do think things happen for a reason.”
As a result, he does not feel that staying at the team would have yielded a more positive outcome.
“From that I don’t really feel like if I stayed maybe things would have been different. I don’t really feel that. I don’t think like oh ‘what could have been, I could have been double world champ by now’, or whatever. I used to think like that when I was younger but I feel like obviously the decision I made, I gave a lot of thought and I had to move on with that.”
He also revealed some advice from his father, telling him to spend no time dwelling on the past.
“This wasn’t even for that specific situation, but my dad told me something when I was young. He said ‘if you look too far back, you’ll get a sore neck’. It’s true, once you make a decision and once you make a decision you thought long and hard about, I think it’s important that you move forward with that”.
Ricciardo will enter his eleventh full season in Formula 1 next year, and is out of contract with McLaren at the end of 2022.