Daniel Ricciardo says there is no bad blood between him and Red Bull and he didn’t feel Max Verstappen would have got preferential treatment had he stayed with the team.
Having been expected to sign a new contract at Red Bull following the Hungarian Grand Prix, Ricciardo made the shock decision to switch to Renault in 2019. While Red Bull was caught out by the Australian’s choice, Ricciardo says it was not a case of his team not supporting him or a specific incident leading to his departure.
“I never said I was unloved,” Ricciardo said. “That wasn’t the case. There was no real highlight other than probably the routine sometimes. We don’t have a nine-to-five job and we’re not going to the same office everyday. But I guess many years of more or less going to the same factory or whatever, that kind of routine, I felt like at time my enjoyment of the sport was becoming a little bit, I don’t know — dulled down, a bit numb at times, and I just thought part of the routine was causing that.
“I’m still discovering myself in life and it’s changing pretty rapidly. How I thought maybe 12 months ago is not how I think now, but I guess part of that process and touching a little bit on the routine I think was something that I felt was… I don’t want to say getting the best of me, but was having a little effect on me.
“To be clear, and I’m probably going to get asked loads of questions about it, there was no falling out, no bad blood or anything with anyone in the team, with the bosses, or anyone at all.
“I know the contract stuff, I think people assumed I was pretty much done with Red Bull and ready to sign, but I’m pretty sure I always just said I was close to doing something but I never really said it was going to be 100% with Red Bull. So there wasn’t anything that changed overnight that caused this decision and that’s pretty much where it was.”
Asked if he felt the team was starting to gravitate toward Verstappen after the Dutchman signed a significant new deal late last year, Ricciardo replied: “No, is the short answer.
“I think externally around the media and maybe some fans’ perspective as well that might be seen as the case, but honestly, internally, yeah in Baku we had an incident and a couple of on-track things, more around ourselves, but as far as equality went within the team… honestly, hand on heart there was never any concern with that or any sign of that.”