Daniel Ricciardo The former Red Bull team are still upset with how the Australian left in 2018, according to a leading Formula 1 journalist.
Ricciardo announced his departure in the middle of the 2018 season, securing a rich two-year contract with rival Renault.
By the time Red Bull had just announced that it would end a 12-year association with Renault Engines, switching to Honda instead.
Red Bull management had been very critical of Renault’s engines since the introduction of the turbo-hybrid regulation of Formula 1 in 2014, which saw Mercedes usurp Red Bull as the sport’s leading team.
With Ricciardo looking to leave Renault when his contract expires at the end of the 2020 season, a team with a vacant seat was Red Bull, but Ricciardo has never been seriously linked with a comeback.
According to Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz, there are still lingering tensions between Ricciardo and Red Bull management.
“It looked like Red Bull was not going to come back to Daniel Ricciardo, or maybe they just hadn’t thought about it,” he told the In the fast lane Podcast.
“I think they’re still really annoyed, (about) the way he left them.
“I think (Red Bull advisor) Helmut Marko didn’t really forgive him, for missing everyone’s Renault, which was sort of the final insult.
“If you want to leave us, fine, but don’t leave us for Renault, our formidable rivals and former driving partners.”
Just three months ago, Marko made another blow against the Australian, claiming the longest Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were teammates, the greater the gap became in favor of Verstappen.
Ricciardo is now preparing for his first season at McLaren, With many keen observers, the team has taken a step forward this season, even to the point of challenging the previously all-conquering Mercedes team.
While Red Bull seems to be the trailblazers, at least based on pre-season testing, McLaren hardly separates from Mercedes.
McLaren switched from Renault engines to Mercedes engines, a change that should be worth a few tenths per lap.
That’s one of the reasons Ricciardo signed a three-year deal with McLaren, hoping it would be his best chance at an elusive world title outside of the top two teams.
“He has to believe it, doesn’t he?” Kravitz said.
“He has to believe that in three years this McLaren Mercedes, with things as smart as a spreader of stuff and stuff like that, will be a team that you can fight for the world championship with.
“I would say at this point that would be optimistic.”
But Kravitz suggested the three-year deal might not be set in stone, if Ricciardo thinks a better drive is available.
“I would be amazed if there wasn’t a clause in this three-year contract that said ‘if Red Bull or Mercedes have a place for me then I can go”, “he said.
“It is clear that he is now in the business of getting into a car that can fight for the world championship. I don’t think anyone doubts that he would be able to mount a championship, a campaign together if he had the right car.
“He just needs to wait for the opportunity.
“But he knows something different has to change at Mercedes for that to happen.
“Was something weird [to happen], and Lewis Hamilton retires or [Mercedes] deciding to move Valtteri Bottas, or both, George Russell beats Daniel Ricciardo in the Mercedes queue. “
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