McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has hit back at former boss Christian Horner on his latest comments surrounding the timing of the Australian’s departure from Red Bull.
Horner was recently quoted as saying that things worked out “spectacularly bad” for Ricciardo following his Red Bull departure a few years ago.
He also said that there was a huge financial offer on the table for the Honey Badger, one that he should’ve taken and stayed at Red Bull.
In all fairness to Horner, Ricciardo did shock the entire F1 paddock when he decided to leave Red Bull for Renault at the end of 2018.
It didn’t quite work out the way he wanted though, and following sporadic returns, he went to McLaren two years later.
What exactly did Horner say?
Even at McLaren, Ricciardo has not seemed to have settled perfectly and has been below his usual standard.
Horner said the main doubt from Ricciardo came with respect to Honda energy. The Australian driver didn’t believe the engine suppliers would be able to give Red Bull a car capable of fighting for the championship.
However, this theory was proved wrong when Max Verstappen lifted his maiden F1 world championship.
“Daniel could see Max in the ascendancy and he didn’t want to become the second driver,” Horner had said.
“His timing was spectacularly bad because he had doubts about the Honda engine and then [Honda] went on to prove it was a competitive power unit and a race-winning package.”
How did Ricciardo respond to these claims?
Ricciardo has now responded to these claims and argued that he did what he felt was best for his career.
“Obviously, I would love to win a title with McLaren and then kind of say ‘I told you so’ or whatever,” Ricciardo told the Herald Sun.
“But I appreciate until that happens then there will probably be that narrative with a lot of people.
“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 like that was the right thing for me.
“You kind of stand by that and it really did feel like the right thing.”
Ricciardo on ‘other reasons’ that forced exit
Ricciardo said that while he knew Red Bull would eventually be title challengers, there were a number of other factors that also dictated his exit.
“It’s not something I look back on and regret or think I should have done differently,” Ricciardo stated.
“But I guess as well now Red Bull is back on top or fighting again for the world titles, I knew that would come around as well.
“There were a lot of problems internally in the team so it’s not just [about] ‘the car is fast, you should have stayed’.”