Horner tried "everything" to keep Ricciardo
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits he desperately tried to convince Daniel Ricciardo to stay at the team for 2019.
The 29-year-old Australian stunned the F1 paddock midway through last season by announcing that he would be leaving Red Bull to join Renault, despite being tantalisingly close to agreeing a new contract.
He leaves after being frustrated at the team’s lack of pace and reliability in comparison to Mercedes and Ferrari, despite winning two races last season, in China and Monaco.
And Horner admits he was sad at the prospect of Ricciardo leaving and did all he could to help make him stay.
“We looked at it and I think we did everything that we possibly could to retain him,” he said.
“He actually said this – he did the classic break-up [line] – it's not you, it's me!
“And I think he just genuinely wanted to take on a new challenge.”
He has been replaced by Frenchman Pierre Gasly who had an impressive season with sister team Toro Rosso, and Horner says it was an easy decision to recruit the 22-year-old.
“You always have a Plan B. I think once we understood that he was serious, that that was his mindset, it was a very easy decision to come to regarding Pierre Gasly,” he added.
Daniel McCarthy is a reporter who is very knowledgeable about football at all levels, and a keen Leeds United fan. He also follows darts, snooker, motorsport, and rugby league.