McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has responded to Christian Horner’s criticism of his “spectacularly awful” timing in leaving Red Bull.
After five years with Red Bull, Ricciardo left at the end of the 2018 season to join Renault for two years before joining McLaren in 2021.
In a recent interview, Horner said that Ricciardo turned down a “stratospheric” offer to stay as Max Verstappen’s teammate owing to concerns about the team’s move to a Honda power unit and his desire not to become a number two driver.
“Obviously, I would love to win a title with McLaren and then kind of say ‘I told you so’ or whatever,” Ricciardo responded to his former team principal’s views, telling the Herald Sun.
“But I appreciate until that happens then there will probably be that narrative with a lot of people.”
“That’s okay, it doesn’t bother me. I also knew that it was going to come with the territory of leaving a big team and obviously at the time I felt like that was the right thing for me,” he added. “You kind of stand by that and it really did feel like the right thing.”
In the third season following Ricciardo’s departure, Red Bull provided Max Verstappen with a car that allowed him to win his first F1 title.
Regardless, the McLaren driver insists he did what he thought was proper at the time.
“It’s not something I look back on and regret or think I should have done differently,” added Ricciardo. “But I guess as well now Red Bull are back on top or fighting again for the world titles, I knew that would come around as well.”
“There are also a lot of things internally in the team so it’s not just [about] ‘the car is fast, you should have stayed’.”