With his move to the Renault factory team, Daniel Ricciardo caused a big surprise last summer.
But perhaps what’s not been so widely reported was just how many other teams Ricciardo held talks with for a deal in 2019, including Mercedes.
For months Daniel Ricciardo took his time before deciding on his GP future. The Australian was spoiled for choice: Should he stay with his current employer, Red Bull Racing, and risk the Honda deal?
Or should he be tempted by the lure calls of Renault, Mercedes or McLaren?
Of course, we all know now that he went with Renault over the other options, many fans and pundits thinking that the Mercedes option had been long since closed up.
Ricciardo knew otherwise; ESPN has been told that Mercedes were still undecided up until the German Grand Prix, long after Ricciardo fans probably thought it wasn’t on.
Rather than take up a multi-year deal with Ricciardo, they decided to opt for a 1 year deal extension with Bottas.
“I knew talks would take a bit of time probably and again, trying to feel each other out, but it got to June/July and maybe we had spoken a few times and we hadn’t really got anywhere, so if you want me tell me otherwise, I will move on — that’s cool.”
“I guess it gets to the point like that with everyone where you want a black or white answer and that’s it. I guess the games can wear a little thin.
“I don’t even know if it’s games, but circling around the edges, it’s like — just go straight in! But these are all things I will learn, and I am sure there will be another time in my career where I will need to go through this process again.
“I am sure there’s things I will do differently. I don’t necessarily have any regrets, it’s all just a learning process.”
“Look, part of it was fun for sure, and part of it was exciting having these little meetings. I guess it was all new to me. I guess just hearing them out and before a meeting, maybe like ‘Oh, what’s going to get talked about and how deep is it going to go’. The process and all that was exciting for sure.
“I guess on one hand I had teams that really wanted me, and then on the other there were teams that were kind of half the foot in the door but not really… so Mercedes and that.
“At times it was confusing for sure, and obviously you’re trying to figure out what is real and what isn’t, who’s genuine and who is not. Again, that was exciting, but it does keep the mind ticking a little bit.”