Daniel Ricciardo claims that a major contributing factor to him leaving Red Bull at the end of the 2018 Formula 1 season was the departure of Simon Rennie as his race engineer.
Ahead of the 2019 campaign, Ricciardo surprised everyone by not signing a new contract with Red Bull, instead opting to jump ship for a lucrative deal with Renault, where he has struggled so far alongside Nico Hulkenberg.
A few factors have been speculated as for the reason for the Australian’s decision, from money, to him believing the team favoured the younger Max Verstappen.
However, a new one has come to light – his longtime engineer no longer travelling in a full-time F1 schedule to move to a domestic factory position.
“There were a lot of reasons, but losing Simon – I knew he wasn’t going to engineer this year, if I stayed at Red Bull, and I thought I had a good relationship with him, and there were some unknowns,” Ricciardo admitted during this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I was certainly comfortable with him. If I knew he stayed, I don’t know if that would’ve been the deciding factor, but it was another [thing] – obviously when you’ve got the Honda concern and a few others, I guess that was another little thing.
“As I said, there were lots of these little things which probably added up – I don’t want to say ‘concerns’ but unknowns. ‘Concerns’ is probably a bit disrespectful.”
Ricciardo reveals that a few teams were campaigning for his services, and that the pressure to make a decision began to mount up around the time of the 2018 Hungarian GP.
“I remember, coming into the weekend, I was still a little bit probably oblivious of what was going to happen and where I would end up, but as the weekend progressed, Friday or Saturday, it was like, ‘alright, some teams are really pushing me, they need to know answers’ – so it started to ramp up,” he continued.
“And it was Sunday night we had to start to really decide what to do, and I was like ‘I’m just going to go out tonight, have a few drinks, and maybe I’ll find my answer with a few friends’.
“And then on the Monday it all kind of started to kick off a bit more.”