Ricciardo feared number two role at Red Bull, says Horner

Published on 09 Aug 2018 10:47

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that Daniel Ricciardo feared slipping into a number two role behind Max Verstappen at the energy drink team. Last week, Ricciardo unexpectedly announced that he would be leaving the Austrian squad after five years.

Ricciardo has partnered Max Verstappen at the team since 2016, involved in a closely fought battle between the pair. But now the 29-year-old is off to join Renault in search of a new challenge. And Horner thinks that the Australian was afraid of falling into a number two driver role.

"I guess in his mind he’s felt that after five years he feels he needs a new challenge, a new prospectus. I think that obviously he’s chosen to join the Renault team, that he feels they’re in the ascendancy. He knows the Renault product very well from all the time that he’s spent with us.

"And I can’t help but feel that he wants to be [in] a leading role perhaps in a smaller environment. The competition between he and Max is intense. Max is growing stronger and stronger. And I think Daniel’s just decided that the timing is right for him to check out and try something else.”

However Horner stated that they would have had equal status at the team: "He sees Max growing and growing in terms of speed and strength and he doesn’t want to play a support role, I guess, for want of better words. Not that they’re in any way treated in any way different.

He continued: "They would have had equal status as they have always had but I can’t but feel that was perhaps a large part of Daniel’s decision-making. I could understand if it was to Ferrari or Mercedes. But it’s an enormous risk at his stage in his career.”


Fergal Walsh

Replies (18)
DE juju_hound 09 Aug 2018 11:160
Posts: 166
I agree with Christian about moving to Renault being a big risk, however staying at Red Bull with Honda doesn't bring 100% convenience.
Ricciardo always admired Lewis move to Mercedes, so he risked to do the same.
SE calle.itw 09 Aug 2018 17:510
Posts: 5642
They both took big risks for sure.
Posts: 30
To my mind, making speculative statements like that about a driver which still has half a season's worth of racing to do for you, is poor management.

If he was going to speculate about Daniel's reasons for leaving, that would have been best left until this years championship had concluded.

I would have said something along the lines of
"We are grateful for the long partneship Daniel has had with the RedBull family, we are sad he's leaving but wish him all the best - as to the reasons he has chosen to drive elsewhere, you'll have to ask him - but together we are going to do our best to win at every race for the remainder of the season."
Posts: 176
Very F1-ish. I would also add, "Dr. Helmuttonhead has made his decision on building the team around Max and thus, if I don't suck up to the both of them, I will be on Gardening leave too."
Posts: 133
@jmac, although probably very professional, that would also be very, very boring don’t you agree? RB probably feels Ricciardo has let the whole team down while RB supported him throughout his whole career. I think RB/Horner deserve some slack.
Posts: 313
What he should have said was: "we fucked up and lost our best driver"
Posts: 176
We see it that way, but does RedBullshit see "OH NO !! Another Vettel-like move? Let's try and smooth it over with verbal diarrhea. That always works."
And a vote for DaniRic ... That is what you get when you drink too much Red Bull.
Posts: 330
Red Bull gave him wings - and he’s flown
US Rindtchamp 09 Aug 2018 15:320
Posts: 271
Better to be equal at Renault than be a paid lackey for Mercedes, Ferrari and RBR. A shame Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen need to be coddled and protected like big babies.
SE calle.itw 09 Aug 2018 17:520
Posts: 5642
It really boggles my mind, that when it has worked so well for RBR for this long to have 2 equally good drivers, and when Ricciardo has done so well, they'd be willing to let him go to another team. Its mindblowing.
US ajpennypacker 09 Aug 2018 15:450
Posts: 1407
Classless as usual from RB. Almost as if Ricciardo had already left and didn't have half a season left. Implying that Danny was afraid of competition from Max... Please. Speculating about his own driver. Chris must be so sore about this move.
US mcbhargav 09 Aug 2018 17:260
Posts: 728
Christian openly inferred, RIC is getting slower than Verstappen, only after RIC announced his move. sour grapes?
US Ram Samartha 09 Aug 2018 18:380
Posts: 254
Horner can get pissy when things don't go his way and it looks like he got blindsided on this Danny Ric deal. Ric appears to have a good relationship with RBR despite his decision to leave but they have plenty of talent in their stables that will come at a cheaper price tag. This is really a holiday break kind of story published because there isn't much else going on. I think it was a good idea for him to get the decision done before the break like he said he would so he could enjoy the summer off. Good on ya mate!
Posts: 133
I think you are reading too much in this journalist’s interpretation. And even then. The guy seems to speak his mind without being offensive, just trying to find an explanation since being asked. You’rall quite sensitive here.
US ajpennypacker 10 Aug 2018 00:290
Posts: 1407
@hombibi what managers usually do is respond with generalities, deflect, send best wishes, express gratitude. But no... Instead Chris went personal attacking Ricciardo's performance. Sure it wasn't a direct attack, but everyone knew what he meant. It was basically saying Ricciardo left because he was afraid of Verstappen.
Posts: 133
It is easy to judge on social media, but I think that there is really no need to. It won't make a difference to begin with, and it polarizes the audience. The result is often trench warfare from behind the keyboard, instead of the exchange of ideas and opinions that could make social media so worthwhile.

I listened to the actual interview (podcast from "beyond the grid") where these snippets were taken from. I still think Christian Horner says not much wrong. It's all about context but decide for yourself.
Posts: 951
Agree hombibi. Nicely put.
US mcbhargav 09 Aug 2018 17:240
Posts: 728
Redbull with Honda, and Verstappen is a compromise. Apparently, it was very clear for RIC.

        Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
Local time
Give your opinion!
Which rookie do you think will impress the most in 2019?

Driver profile
Name NL Max Verstappen
Active As Red Bull Racing Driver in Formula 1
Date of birth Sep 30 1997 (21)
Weight 70 kg
Height 1.80m
City Monaco
543,427 comments on Verstappen
766 members have this driver as their favourite
Tweets about Max Verstappen
Track Yas Marina Circuit
Track Yas Marina Circuit
Location AE Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Website Website
Team profile
Name IT Ferrari
Founding date Jan 1 1929
369,962 comments on Ferrari
204 members have this team as their favourite
Website http://www.ferrari.com
Location Maranello
Tweets about Ferrari
Formula 1 Calendar
Previous Grand Prix: 25 November 2018
AE Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi