Red Bull’s Double Offer Couldn’t Keep Ricciardo: The Shocking 2019 Move to Renault

UNITED KINGDOM: Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull Racing, recently revealed that the team was prepared to almost double Daniel Ricciardo’s salary in a desperate bid to prevent him from making the switch to Renault in 2019.

Ricciardo, a longstanding member of the Red Bull family, had been associated with the team from his junior years to becoming a prominent driver for Toro Rosso and, later, Red Bull itself. His decision to move to Renault, a team that finished fourth in the 2018 standings, raised eyebrows throughout the Formula 1 community.

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Despite being part of a formidable driver pairing alongside Max Verstappen, Ricciardo felt overshadowed by his younger teammate’s growing prominence. This led to his contemplation of a new challenge outside of Red Bull.

Speaking on the “eff won with DRS” podcast, Horner disclosed that Red Bull was prepared to match the $10 million contract they had just awarded Verstappen in a bid to retain Ricciardo. However, the Australian driver was already entertaining offers from other teams, which ultimately influenced his decision.

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Horner further revealed a pivotal conversation with Red Bull’s owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, before the Austrian Grand Prix, where he implored Mateschitz to convey the team’s desire to keep Ricciardo. Astonishingly, Mateschitz agreed to offer Ricciardo the same salary as Verstappen, much to Horner’s surprise.

However, a twist occurred when Ricciardo, after a test in Hungary, opted to change his mind, desiring a one-year contract instead. This unexpected turn of events left Horner questioning Ricciardo’s intentions.

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In hindsight, Horner believes Ricciardo eventually came to regret his decision. During the pandemic year, Ricciardo admitted that Horner was right, acknowledging the misjudgement in his choice to leave Red Bull for Renault.

The revelation sheds light on the complexities and uncertainties that permeate the world of Formula 1, even for seasoned drivers like Ricciardo, who, in the end, found himself in a new racing environment with Renault, where he raced till 2020 before leaving for McLaren in 2021.

The Aussie struggled to come to terms with the McLaren car in 2021 and 2022, barring a solitary win in Monza in an eventful 2021 season. McLaren brought him out of his contract and replaced him with rookie Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season.

Ricciardo found himself back to his roots during the mid-season break of 2023 when AlphaTauri announced that he would partner Yuki Tsunoda for the rest of the season, replacing a below-par Nyck de Vries.

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Originally posted 2023-11-09 09:10:00.