Daniel Ricciardo has swept aside criticism that he should have stayed with Red Bull Racing as he prepares to drive for McLaren in the Formula 1® Heineken® Australian Grand Prix 2022.
His former boss at Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, recently commented on Ricciardo’s departure from the team, referring to the rise of Max Verstappen and that the Western Australian did not want to be seen as 'the second driver'.
After five seasons with Red Bull Racing, Ricciardo moved to Renault for the 2019 season, before making the move to McLaren in 2021. He won the Italian Grand Prix last September, but McLaren has struggled in the opening two races of the season, with Ricciardo failing to score a point.
Ricciardo told Melbourne’s the Herald Sun that he was comfortable with his career decisions.
“Obviously I would love to win a title with McLaren and then kind of say ’I told you so’ or whatever, but I appreciate until that happens then there will probably be that narrative with a lot of people,” he said.
“That’s ok. It doesn’t bother me. I also knew that it was also 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.”
Verstappen’s 2021 title, and his recent win in Saudi Arabia, have not prompted any change of mind with Ricciardo, who stands by his decision to leave Red Bull Racing. The team was about to change engine partners to Honda – ironically, the package with which Verstappen won last year’s title.
“Internally you have to be comfortable with everything that is going on inside the team, and in 2019 my engineer Simon [Rennie] - who I really built a very good relationship with - he wasn’t going to be there in 2019.
"So I knew I was going to lose him if I stayed."
“And they were going to Honda. There were a lot of things that gave me a little bit of discomfort or lack of stability.
“I guess when you break it down, it makes sense, but I totally get why people will say ‘you shouldn’t have done that’ or whatever.
“That’s expected and I can’t say it bothers me. It is what it is.”