Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is yet to forgive former driver Daniel Ricciardo for walking out on the team a couple of years ago.
In a decision that rattled the team, Ricciardo decided to sign a two-year deal with Renault at the end of the 2018 season.
Interestingly, this was exactly when Red Bull announced that it would end its association with Renault, having used the team’s engine for 12 years. They switched to Honda energy.
Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz believes the team is yet to fully forgive him for this. As a result of this, the team never even considered Ricciardo for a seat even though they had one available ahead of the 2021 season.
“It looked like Red Bull weren’t going to go back to Daniel Ricciardo, or maybe they just hadn’t thought of it,” Kravitz said on the In the Fast Lane podcast.
“They’re still annoyed really, (about) the way he left them actually.
“I think Helmut Marko hasn’t really forgiven him, for disappearing off to Renault of all people, which was kind of the final insult.
“If you’re going to leave us, OK, but don’t leave us for Renault, our dreaded rivals and ex-engine partners.”
Ricciardo will now feature for McLaren after ending his deal with Renault. The fact that McLaren has signed a deal with Mercedes to supply it with power convinced Ricciardo, Kravitz feels.
“It’s one reason Ricciardo has signed a three-year deal with McLaren, in the expectation it’s his best chance of claiming an elusive world title outside of the top two teams,” Kravitz said.
“He has to believe it, doesn’t he?
“He has to believe that in three years’ time this McLaren Mercedes, with such clever things as a trick diffuser and stuff like that, is going to be a team with which you can challenge for the world championship.
“I’d say at this point that would be optimistic.”
Kravitz had previously suggested that Ricciardo has an exit clause in his contract that can be activated at any point.
Read more: Ace up their sleeves? Wolff refuses to reveal where Mercedes has spent development tokens