Daniel Ricciardo says he grew frustrated by the lack of a direct answer during talks with Mercedes regarding a potential seat with the team.
The Australian was out of contract at the end of 2018 and had an offer to remain at Red Bull, but also held talks with Mercedes as the constructors’ champions weighed up potential replacements for Valtteri Bottas. In the end, Bottas was offered a new one-year extension while Ricciardo joined Renault, but the 29-year-old says he was irked by the manner in which some aspects of the discussions played out.
“I knew talks would take a bit of time probably and again, trying to feel each other out, but it got to June/July and maybe we had spoken a few times and we hadn’t really got anywhere, so if you want me tell me otherwise, I will move on — that’s cool,” Ricciardo told ESPN.
“I guess it gets to the point like that with everyone where you want a black or white answer and that’s it. I guess the games can wear a little thin.
“I don’t even know if it’s games, but circling around the edges, it’s like — just go straight in! But these are all things I will learn, and I am sure there will be another time in my career where I will need to go through this process again. I am sure there’s things I will do differently. I don’t necessarily have any regrets, it’s all just a learning process.”
Ricciardo held talks with a number of different teams before confirming his move to Enstone, and says he enjoyed the way he was able to explore various opportunities.
“Look, part of it was fun for sure, and part of it was exciting having these little meetings. I guess it was all new to me. I guess just hearing them out and before a meeting, maybe like, ‘Oh, what’s going to get talked about and how deep is it going to go?’ The process and all that was exciting for sure.
“I guess on one hand I had teams that really wanted me, and then on the other there were teams that were kind of half the foot in the door but not really… so Mercedes and that. At times it was confusing for sure, and obviously you’re trying to figure out what is real and what isn’t, who’s genuine and who is not. Again, that was exciting, but it does keep the mind ticking a little bit.”