Ricciardo unbothered by Horner’s ‘spectacularly bad timing’ comment

Daniel Ricciardo has responded to Christian Horner’s criticism about his decision to leave the team back in 2018.

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has responded to Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner’s criticism about his decision to leave the team for Renault in 2018.

In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Horner claimed that “Daniel could see Max in the ascendancy, and he didn’t want to become the second driver.”

Furthermore, Horner believes that Ricciardo did not trust Red Bull’s Honda engine to bring the team a title, but the Australian was proven wrong in 2021 by Max Verstappen.

“His timing was spectacularly bad because obviously, he had doubts about the Honda engine,” Horner said.

“Then [Honda] went on to prove it was a competitive power unit and race-winning package.”

READ: Mercedes delay new rear wing while Red Bull bring major upgrade to Australian GP

The Aussie said he believes the narrative of him making a mistake by ditching Red Bull will persist until he wins a title with McLaren, or another team that he goes on to join.

“Obviously, I would love to win a title with McLaren and then kind of say ‘I told you so’ or whatever,” Riccardo said in an interview with the Herald Sun.

“But I appreciate until that happens then there will probably be that narrative with a lot of people.”

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Continuing, he said this narrative doesn’t “bother” him and he knew it was something that was likely to emerge when he first left Red Bull for Renault.

“That’s okay, it doesn’t bother me. I also knew that it was going to come with the territory of leaving a big team and obviously at the time I felt that was the right thing for me.

“You kind of stand by that and it really did feel like the right thing.”

He emphasised that he knew Red Bull would produce a championship-winning car again, but said there were a multitude of internal factors which made him decide that leaving the Milton Keynes squad was the right move.

“There are also a lot of things internally in the team so it’s not just [about] ‘the car is fast, you should have stayed.’

“It’s not something I look back on and regret or think I should have done differently.

“But I guess as well now Red Bull are back on top or fighting again for the world titles, I knew that would come around as well.

Since joining McLaren in 2021, the 31-year-old has scored 115 points and has won one race, namely the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

READ: FIA respond to Ferrari boss’ demand, call for ‘clean’ title battle

After the first two races of the 2022 season, McLaren sit in eighth place in the Constructors’ Standings, with six points.

Team principal Andreas Seidl had admitted that their rivals have simply done a better job in developing their 2022 car and said both Ricciardo and team-mate Lando Norris “deserve” a more competitive package.