Ricciardo “went and did something stupid” when he left Red Bull – Horner

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to leave the team four years ago was a mistake.

In brief

Ricciardo will ‘rediscover enjoyment of F1’ at Red Bull – Horner

Ricciardo will be Red Bull’s reserve driver next year after losing his seat at McLaren. He previously drove for them between 2014 and 2018, before leaving to drive for Renault and later McLaren.

Speaking to the Mirror, Horner said Ricciardo made a mistake by leaving the team which brought him into Formula 1.

“Daniel joined us as a teenager and he grew up with the team here,” Horner said. “He had some great success here with us, and then he went and did something stupid and went to drive for a couple of other teams and it never quite worked out.”

Horner expects Ricciardo will rediscover his love of F1 following his return to the team. “Daniel is such a great personality and big character. We felt it was right to bring him back into the team – and of course promotionally, he’s got the biggest smile in F1.

“For him, he will be able to get back to having fun and rediscover his enjoyment of being a Formula 1 driver, rather than the stress he has had over the last couple of years.”

PHM also expands into Formula Regional

German team PHM Racing has confirmed it will expand into Formula Regional next year in addition to its recently announced move into Formula 2 and Formula 3.

PHM was established this year and raced in Formula 4. It will compete in four single-seater categories in 2023, with its F2 line-up already settled. Two drivers have also already been signed for Formula Regional Middle East, with former Sauber karting protege Joshua Dufek joining the team and Nikita Bedrin moving up from PHM’s F4 squad.

W Series’ Chloe Chambers finds new racing seat

Chloe Chambers will race in next year’s Toyota Racing Series for Giles Motorsport, after her rookie W Series campaign was cut short.

The 18-year-old American was one of five new drivers chosen to race in W Series this year, and finished 16th in the championship with one points finish. There were only seven races before cash flow issues meant the series had to cancel the rest of its season.

In 2021 she raced in Formula 4, coming 10th in the YACademy Winter Series, eighth in F4 Eastern and 26th in United States F4 with coaching from former IndyCar stars Al Unser Jnr and Sarah Fisher.

She has already been to New Zealand to test for TRS, which is making a comeback in 2023 after its last season did not go ahead due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Comment of the day

An assessment of how Alpine drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon performed against each other this season, and how car reliability came into play in their battle to be the team’s highest-scoring driver inspired a conversation about how costly retirements are with the current F1 points system, which has been in use since 2010.

The current F1 points scoring system rewards reliability rather than excellence. Imagine if you have two drivers, A and B, they might be team mates in a dominant car, and imagine if these were the results in a four-race season, using the current points scoring system:

A = DNF 1st 1st 1st = 75pts
B = 1st 2nd 2nd 2nd = 79pts

It would seem crazy that you could win three of the four races and still not be in the lead, due to a mechanical failure or someone running into you during a race. I agree those numbers are contrived, an extreme example, but it shows the impact an extra DNF has at the top of the field in a closely fought season.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Stretch and Matiascasali!

On this day in motorsport

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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39 comments on “Ricciardo “went and did something stupid” when he left Red Bull – Horner”

  1. Re: CotD, that example is not extreme nor contrived. In 2016 Nico Rosberg had 9 wins to Lewis’ 10 and won the WDC by 5 points. Nico had 1 retirement whereas Lewis had 2 that season. I’d say this goes to prove your point and your example valid.

    1. However the old motorsport adage is, “to finish first, first you must finish” — as unfair as a DNF may seem it is part of the sport. I would find it more frustrating if a driver was somehow compensated for bad luck.

      1. Agreed.
        A DNF isn’t a sign of ‘excellence,’ it’s a sign of inconsistency – and consistency is an unavoidable ingredient in a multi-event championship.

        I do agree that the points system is wrong, but I’d go the other way. Points weighting is completely unnecessary, causing the system to no longer reflect actual race results.
        Every 1 position gained or lost should be one extra or one fewer point, IMO, and points should be awarded to everyone who finishes. DNF gets zero.

        1. Disagree, way to make reliability even more impactful than it is.

          1. So? Why is that a problem?
            F1 is a championship of 23 or so events – reliability is always going to be a significant factor.
            Teams and manufacturers have choices to make – more performance and less reliability, or less performance and more reliability.

            To counter CotD – would we really prefer to see a champion result decided due to a single lucky (or ‘gifted’) win, or due to being consistently competitive throughout the entire season?
            It seems a better and more accurate reflection of the actual racing season to me that the consistently strong finisher gets the reward for their sustained performance.

            Besides, it’s just as difficult to make up a position from 12th to 11th as it is from 2nd to 1st – so why should one come with a boat load of points while the other is almost totally meaningless?
            It makes no sense at all.

    2. 2016 was the way it was because Rosberg could play it that way. He was ahead and could bank 2nds to win. For sure would have been different had they stayed equal. Rosberg was showing he could out qualify Lewis and play team and tactics to stay ahead (mercs could barely overtake each other). So even 2016 isn’t the best example, it doesn’t account for the what if scenario if Hamilton didn’t have the dnf and how it would have played out. Not a given it would have gone to Hamilton.

      1. True on top of that in Malaysia 2016 Rosberg had bad luck with a start incident was last of the field in the first lap but recovered to 3th while Lewis was under pressure form the RBs. Lewis lost points but we don’t know wat would have happened if they both didn’t have their share of bad luck that day.

    3. This is why I still like the pre-1990 score system only the best 11 results counted (of 16). So you can have some DNF’s caused by incidents or reliability. But in the current era reliability is much better and the pointsystem is in line with the use of limited engines and components.

    4. I suppose the flipside to CotD would be “it’s crazy to podium all the races (winning a quarter of them) and be beaten by someone who only finished 75% of the events.”

  2. It seems like Ricciardo is someone who needs not only a certain car to suit his driving style but a certain headspace to get the most out if it. I doubt he would have fared very well against Max during his ascendency at its peak. It was clear in 2018, in his last season with Red Bull, when Max scored 249 points to Ricciardo’s 170. I think that trend would have continued and there would have been more embarrassing “Multi 21” type moments than with Max and Gasly/Albon/Perez. I think the situation with Ricciardo leaving was probably best for everyone by effectively hiding Ricciardo’s deficiencies and allowing Red Bull to avoid inter team challenges for Max’s rise.

    1. I remember, during Max’s first race with RB, when they pitted Daniel to put him behind that I (and presumably he) thought that he needs to look around for other options.

      1. The same race where Ferrari clearly preferred their new number one driver Kimi Raikonnen by having their second rate driver Sebastian Vettel on the same strategy as Ricciardo. Yeah, I can see how you got to that conclusion from that one race.

        1. It was apparent to me too that Ricciardo’s time at Red Bull was limited from that race – especially given the hype that Verstappen was already receiving from Red Bull.
          As time went on, the car development and team preference went more and more Verstappen’s way.

          As for Ferrari – driver status and strategy stuff-ups are their trademark.

          1. He only did as well as Kvyat had done two races earlier (best behind the Mercs, if they finished) and yet the PR from RB was like the second coming.

            It’s interesting the lengths that Max supporters try to go to pretend he isn’t the be all and end all of RB strategy.

          2. Yeah, its what Ferrari did with Schumacher and got them 5 titles. Oh.. wait..

    2. I think Ricciardo would have tried a Rosberg 2016 if he saw the car was good enough. He would have fought and found motivation. It would have been a fun extra dynamic to 2021 and 2022 I think.

  3. That’s the kind of stuff he’s going to hear a lot in the near future.

    It didn’t work out for him but it wasn’t stupid at all. Look at where Sainz is.

    Horner is such an unlikeable j.. is not even funny.

    1. Perhaps he would also have been booed if he had appeared on the AD podium.

    2. I agree, it wasn’t a “stupid move”, it was a gamble which didn’t pay off. He moved because he knew he had no chance of winning a championship with Max in the team. At another team, he may have had a chance, if only they managed to make a winning car, and he wouldn’t suffer the frustration of being a clear number 2 driver.

      1. I disagree, it was the exact definition of a silly move, I said it back then as well that it wouldn’t work: you don’t leave a top team for a midfielder, especially after it’s been proven time and time again that midfielders can’t really make the step up: he tried to copy hamilton but in totally different circumstances.

        1. Equally, it’s also been consistently proven that you can’t convince a team to make you their No.1 when they’ve already decided that someone else is, regardless of their performance or consistency.

          Had Ricciardo stayed at Red Bull, he’d have certainly been in a similar situation to Bottas, Barrichello and Irvine, among others. In the fastest team, but treated as the support act in almost every way – even when faster on the day. Left to fight it out for 2nd at best, but likely 3rd or 4th in the championship, due to being strategically compromised to assist his team-mate.
          Red Bull did it with Webber before him, and have done it since with Kvyat, Gasly, Albon and now Perez.

          1. Indeed S, I think that while @esploratore1 isn’t entirely wrong, I have to agree with @drmouse that it was a gamble, because Ricciardo saw his path at Red Bull not going the way he needed it to. I’d even argue that without it it is quite possible he wouldn’t have been racing in F1 anymore, having tired of it after three more years of Red Bull along Verstappen.

            Let’s not forget that his first years there were with a Vettel that wasn’t doing the miracles he did until 2014 in their car; with Verstappen there it was clear Ricciardo was never going to be that either, he’d be a better Webber, as he will be now perhaps, but at least it keeps him in F1, in an environment where people do have good memories of what the could do. His current position is a bet too, but one he’ll have to deal with remarks like these from Horner (or before, was it last week, from Verstappen): hello silly boy, good to have you around nevertheless.

        2. I actually think Daniel’s biggest issue was COVID @esploratore1 @bosyber.

          He left Red Bull to move to Renault who had serious ambitions and financial commitments to match. They incentivised him with a large wage of course but they also recruited heavily from Racing Point and with the formula becoming less engine dependent Enstone was a shrewd move.

          COVID interrupted Renault’s commitment and the rules moving a year gave both sides cold feet with Alonso lurking. The silly move was then to McLaren – if he left RB due to a hotshoe liked by the team and viewed as the future then moving to McLaren was analogous and a clear misstep.

          1. That’s an interesting, and good point @rbalonso, which I didn’t fully consider, thanks.

  4. Ricciardo with his mum and dad. So lovely

  5. Re:COTD

    We can’t really win with points systems. The old 9 for a win, 6 for second is too limited in the reliability era.

    Dropping scores like in 1988 is the best system if you either reliability extreme but for the 1990s didn’t incentivise improving car efficiency and reliability.

    With that said, no-one wants to see a driver become Champion with multiple driver error DNFs versus a driver with similar mechanical ones.

  6. “Daniel is such a great personality and big character. We felt it was right to bring him back into the team – and of course promotionally, he’s got the biggest smile in F1.”

    I would say those are the wrong reasons to have a driver in the car. Those are nice to have and fine personal traits but they do not bring in the results on track. Horner’s comment makes it look like they brought Daniel in the team just to sell t-shirts and soda cans.

    Hopefully Daniel has a good 2023 on a personal level and maybe a race seat in 2024 though it looks like chances are very slim of that one happening.

  7. I see some sarcasm in Horner’s remarks.

    Split race schedule with separate Middle East, Europe, Americas & Oceanic-Southeast-East Asia legs.
    Interesting plan, but the Americas leg will be challenging over differences in climatic conditions & aspects.
    Another issue is that not all existing contracts end simultaneously, although the ‘Abu Dhabi paying a premium to be the last factor’ is easily solvable by holding all Middle East events at the tail-end.

    While COTD brings up an interesting & valid point, I don’t mind about unreliability possibly impacting outcomes.
    Perfect reliability would be good but, unfortunately, impossible in motorsport.

  8. Re: COTD
    It is not a contrived example, it’s how the 2014 season started:
    Ham: Ret 1st 1st 1st 1st
    Ros: 1st 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd

    With Hamilton retiring in the first race due to one of the cylinders failing. Thankfully, there was no point for fastest lap back then, otherwise the number two driver could (most races) simply pit before the end and collect an extra point.

    1. Indeed – 2014 came to mind immediately.

  9. Simple reasons why Ricciardo leaved:

    1) it became clear Verstappen is #1 driver no matter what (for me it was obvious from late 2014, for someone from Spain 2016, but in general people tend to think Baku’18 was the point of no return) , he’s gaining strength and it will be difficult to keep up with Max in the future;
    2) more MONEY and clear #1 status in new environment;
    3) big doubts about Honda engine.

    Simply put, Ricciardo ran away from Max and still indistinct Honda future in search of money and possible success with another team.

    Was it really something stupid?

    1. Agreed. If you’re already in a top team (which wasn’t the case for BAR, BOT, PER), better to shift elsewhere and be a No. 1 in a slightly lower team than in the shadow of the new kid in a top team, a role you were initially filling. Just like at work, a CEO rarely steps down to make way for a new CEO and happily sticks around.

      I’d say that not only was his reasoning sound, his gamble to Renault went alright as well. Sure they weren’t regularly fighting for wins but they were best after the top 3, the car suited his style which he used to good effect, a team mate he had the measure of, and a great pay. Everything to keep his stock up while waiting for an opening in another top team.

      Then McLaren came knocking and he gambled bigger stakes with lesser need for change. Enter the worst performance stint of his career.

    2. Most important of all : to be a free agent on the market available for other top teams to pick him up.

      It could have been Ferrari, the timing just wasn’t right and they went with Sainz instead.

      Still, had it worket out, it would be a win. Drive for Feerrari is still way better than to be Verstappen’s doormat. That seat only appeals to AT drivers and others that never experienced success before.

  10. The only thing Ricciardo is fully responsible for is his lack of pace compared to Norris. Not one, but two years in a row. What is more funny he publicly joked about ending Norris career, it’s on Youtube. And now McLaren prefers to throw him out. I think he’s no more sought-after option among top teams. Red Bull picked him up because now he’s a cheap but still solid plug for simulator and PR work.

  11. Horner and Toto Wolff are just so annoying …
    It’s juste overkill of things, i’m really not a fan of their communication …

  12. Yeah, that’s it Ricciardo, know your place.

    1. …and your # ??? out of 20???

  13. Horner said that Dan Ric will discover his love of the sport being a F1 driver again….doesnt sound like a test driver role to me???…so will Perez complete the season???…

  14. Sincerely would like to see RIC regain his mojo!!!
    Totally agree with him leaving RBR, particularly after Baku & strange unreliability of the car.
    Going to McLaren was the right move, theoretically, with Zak’s ramping up, incl appointing Andreas S., and the Merc PU [who was it to know it would be initially a ‘boat anchor’!]
    On the point of selling t-shirts & cans, don’t underestimate the US/Central Americas market.
    IMO a strong point to hire PER was to shore up that market. RIC is well received in US, so if he can re-prove himself & be quicker than PER, so be it.
    Sure RIC knows the WDC boat, for him, has now sailed.

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