“We’re not seeing the real Daniel Ricciardo at the moment” – Horner

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner sympathises with his former driver Daniel Ricciardo, who will leave his current team a year before his contract was due to expire.

Ricciardo caused a sensation by walking out of a race-winning seat at Red Bull in 2018 to join Renault. He soon moved on to McLaren, signing a three-year deal to drive for the team.

But Ricciardo has been unable to get to grips with the team’s car and lagged off the pace of team mate Lando Norris. McLaren announced this week it had agreed with Ricciardo he will not see out the final year of his deal to drive for the team next year.

He arrived in F1 with Red Bull, who backed Ricciardo during his junior career before placing him at HRT and Toro Rosso. Ricciardo won three races in his first season as a Red Bull driver in 2014, and took four more wins before he left them.

Horner said it was “tricky” to judge what had gone wrong for Ricciardo at McLaren.

“The time he spent with us, he grew up as a junior driver within the junior programme, winning the Formula 3 championship. Then obviously stepping in through Toro Rosso into Red Bull Racing and what he achieved with us was phenomenal. Third in the world championship twice, I think seven victories and many, many podiums.

“It’s a great shame to see that he’s struggling and hopefully he can find a seat in Formula 1. Moving forward, I think Formula 1 would miss him. He’s a big character, he’s a big personality.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I don’t think we’re seeing the real Daniel Ricciardo, at the moment. So it would be great to see him find his mojo again and find out a reasonable solution for for next year.”

Ricciardo said on Thursday he felt he had exhausted the options to get on top of his McLaren’s handling.

“We’d been in dialogue for really the last few months,” he explained. “It wasn’t like ‘don’t top five this race and you’re done’. It was more ‘what can we do?’ How can we as a collective, try to keep making this work?

“Obviously, I’d try to give feedback on the things I would struggle with on the car and there was a lot of, I guess, dialogue. But also I understood that was also a point of concern, because the results I was getting were not up to, I guess, the level that we all thought they could have been.

“So we did talk [for] months about it and ways to try and rectify the issues. But then also, potentially, like, ‘Okay, what next? What now?’ And we kind of just came to, unfortunately, a bit of a dead end, where we felt like we’d exhausted most things that were at least in reach at the time. And that’s when obviously, they made the decision.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

7 comments on ““We’re not seeing the real Daniel Ricciardo at the moment” – Horner”

  1. The real Daniel Ricciardo chose a cheque over driving in Formula 1.

    That is all.

    1. Nooo, you can’t say that about Money Badger! Even respected journalists like Mark Hughes, spread these nasty, horrible lies:

      All this was happening just as Ricciardo was transitioning into life in LA and into business ventures which will no doubt serve him well in his post-driving career, but which inevitably raised the question of how focused he could be on attending to the alarming crisis in his form.

      Some even dare to say Ricciardo ran away from Red Bull when Max started to trash him week-in, week-out, so his commercial value started to drop. He chose huge salary at Renault (big brand), but once again bailed the moment they rebranded to Alpine (Alpine who?), while there was empty seat at McLaren (big brand). Almost like he only cared about personal lucrative sponsorhip deals and not actual results or performance. Unfortunately for him, the problem called Lando Norris exists, which brings brutal salary verification.

      What’s next for Money Badger, who’s even willing to take sabbatical year over racing in another series? I’m sure it has nothing to do with much smaller money and prestige that other categories gets you. It’s about F1 being so awesome, I’m sure :)

    2. That’s a fairly harsh assessment.

      If every F1 driver who decided to try and step out of the shadows and into the light was assessed in these terms it would paint a bleak picture of the sport.

      At the end of the, day Ricciardo made moves to teams that looked like they had great potential. What those teams were ultimately prepared to pay makes them complicit.

      Unfortunately for Ricciardo the gamble to go to the factory Renault team over a questionable Honda supplier deal (at rhe time) was the wrong move. Similarly, the McLaren + Mercedes 1+1 didn’t equal 4, it was a soft 1.5 at best. How many races has Norris won in the same car?

      If he can tread water for a year the best may be yet to come.

      1. @armchairexpert really has it in for Daniel. Extremely negative.

        These arguments are preposterous. So Daniel has chosen to receive the pay off from McLaren instead of driving for them for another year. Really?? Then presumably he would prefer to be paid lots rather than having a seat next year. Being a successful and high profile competitor in F1 is going to do far more for his commercial interests than being sat on the sidelines and having his time at McLaren as his epitaph. So these arguments just don’t make sense.

        I do think his decision to join McLaren when he did was questionable. He was doing quite well at Alpine so he probably should have continued.

        It is interesting though that both Horner and Otmar are quite positive about Daniel. I know whose judgement I would rather trust.

        1. Well, horner indeed saw the real ricciardo, it’s obvious this is not the performance that red bull ricciardo should be able to produce.

    3. Not sure where you get this assessment from. Maybe you are thinking that Daniel could stay if he wanted based on his contract terms, but have you ever worked for someone that didn’t want you there? Definitely not a good situation for winning or image alike. So he took the money rather than live in an unmanageable situation. I don’t blame him, nor do I blame McLaren. It just didn’t work.

  2. I thought him moving away from Red Bull to Renault was a bad move but I can see why he’d have little faith in Honda given their troubles at McLaren at the time, and driving for a factory team with a huge salary would probably feel like the next natural step. We now know that was a bad move, trading a championship winning combo for a midfield runner.

    … and then he moved again when the grass looked greener on the other side. That move I never understood as it seemed like a side-step than a step forward, and seemed to trash much of Renault’s faith on building the team around him to go to a team that was already putting their eggs in Norris’s basket. And now he’s being left without a midfield drive, let alone a top one and arguably can’t rely on his ‘potential’ as for two years he’s looked slow.

    Personally I think he Alonso’d himself, making odd career choices that perhaps on paper seemed the right choice but have gone the wrong direction. Bit of a shame because he’s a great driver, but clearly more sensitive to the way the car is set up than we thought – or even he thought, apparently. I’d like to see him go to Williams alongside Albon and make a from the ashes kind of rebirth, not just for him but for Williams too. But I think for him it’s Alpine (who really have no reason to take him) or out the door.

Comments are closed.