Horner pokes fun at Ricciardo’s poor exit timing – “We had offered him a stratospheric deal”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that former team driver Daniel Ricciardo rejected a “stratospheric” offer before deciding to leave for Renault in 2019.

Ricciardo enjoyed a number of years with the Red Bull family, having originally raced for their sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2014.

A lot was expected of him, especially after he beat Sebastian Vettel in his debut season with Red Bull. Vettel had already won four world titles by this time and for a youngster to outperform him made the entire F1 world take notice.

However, his time alongside Max Verstappen was not as encouraging. He won seven races over five seasons with the team. He eventually decided to move in search of a new challenge after consistently getting beaten by teammate Max Verstappen.

Two disappointing seasons with Renault meant he moved to McLaren at the start of 2021.

However, his performances at McLaren have also been far from encouraging. Regularly losing out to a younger teammate in Lando Norris has even made him say that he would be okay with the prospect of never becoming a world champion.

“Daniel could see Max in the ascendancy and he didn’t want to become the second driver,” Horner said.

Red Bull has become stronger since Ricciardo’s exit

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. Credit: thesportsrush.com

Ever since Ricciardo left the team, Red Bull has just gone from strength to strength and gave Mercedes a real run for its money last season. Max Verstappen even went on to do the unthinkable and won his maiden drivers’ championship.

This season, too, Red Bull looks like it can challenge Ferrari for the title. Meanwhile, Ricciardo has failed to pick up a single point for McLaren.

Horner believes it is now obvious to everyone that Ricciardo made the wrong decision.

“His timing was spectacularly bad because obviously, he had doubts about the Honda engine and then [Honda] went on to prove there it was a competitive power unit and a race-winning package,” Horner said.

“Daniel is a great driver and we were sad when he decided to leave the team here.

“It’s unfortunately not worked out for him the way he would have liked. He’s great natural abilities, a big personality. Of course, now he’s got a competitive teammate as well. It’s given him a hard time and you know, that’s tough for him.”

Daniel Ricciardo will line up along with the other drivers as the F1 circus moves to Albert Park in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix on April 8.

Read more: Aston Martin requested to sack Vettel and Stroll, give Hulkenberg a permanent seat

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